How Stress Affects Your Digestion – Part Four

How Stress Makes Bad Bugs Worse

This is really important article as it shows you how bacteria, parasites and fungi cause more problems when you are stressed.

Ever since I had H. pylori and all its symptoms, I’ve been driven to understand how our interactions with gut bugs can either bring health or disease.

One of the questions I’ve asked over and over again and is, “Why the heck do some people get symptoms when they have bad bugs like H. pylori when others don’t?”

I’ve come to realize that you can have different types of H. pylori (and other bugs like Blastocystis hominis) and the differences in microbe type or strain can determine whether they cause symptoms.

With H. pylori, we know for example that CagA and VacA strains are the ones associated with more serious symptoms such as gastritis, stomach ulcers, and even stomach cancer.

These strains are also associated with high blood pressure, insulin resistance, type II diabetes, high cholesterol, heart attacks and strokes. 1

But it’s not all about the bugs – conditions in your body can determine how nasty these bugs are and whether they cause digestive and body-wide symptoms.

At least 11 different bacteria become more aggressive when you’re stressed

I recently came across a pile of scientific research revealing how stress can cause microbes to switch from being relatively harmless to causing problems.

In essence, it’s a little bit like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: In some conditions, a microbe can be harmless, but in others its personality can change and become very destructive.

First, stress hormones like noradrenaline encourage the growth of several nasty microbes, including E. coli, Campylobacter, H. pylori and Salmonella. At least 24 different bacteria appear to become nastier when you’re under stress.

Second, the very same hormones and neurotransmitters can increase the virulence, or nastiness, of bacteria like Campylobacter, Yersinia, E. coli and Salmonella. 2

By the way, we can help you find out whether you have these bugs by running a home stool test.

This is almost certainly one of the reasons why digestive symptoms are so strongly associated with stress, and it’s definitely one of the reasons why two people can carry the same bugs and either have symptoms or not.

Your stress also helps bad bugs survive…

If all this isn’t enough, stress seems to enhance the ability of the bad bugs in your gut to form structures called biofilms around themselves. 3

Biofilms act like shields – they are a protective matrix formed around microbe colonies that protect them from your immune system.

Biofilms are important because they protect bad bugs from antibiotics and herbs, making it much harder to kill them.

If your stress hormone level enhances biofilm formation, you may be inadvertently reducing your ability to eradicate a range of bad bugs.

Fortunately, when we work with clients, we use specific supplements to break down biofilms to allow antibiotics or herbs to do their job more effectively.

Secretory IgA and biofilms

In the last article I showed you how stress knocks down sIgA level. sIgA is the molecule that acts as the frontline immune defender in your gut.

When it’s too high, sIgA indicates an infection or food sensitivity (hyper-active immune system). When it’s too low, sIgA reflects an exhausted immune system.

But that’s not all.

It turns out that healthy sIgA levels appear to encourage biofilm formation around your friendly bacteria – the good guys – but NOT around bad bugs. 4

As such, sIgA appears to protect your good bugs. Interestingly, your good bugs also trigger the release of sIgA, so it seems to be a mutually beneficial process.

When sIgA gets knocked down and good bugs decline as a result of chronic stress, the bad bugs can begin proliferating. The end result is a bunch of irritable bowel syndrome-type symptoms.

In plain English, stress might switch biofilm formation from good to bad bugs. In turn, this may lead to antibiotic treatments killing good bugs and being ineffective against the bad ones!

Candida, other nasty bugs and different hormone interactions

  • Estrogen, which often increases when you are under stress, increases the infectivity of Candida.
  • Candida also responds to luteinizing hormone by forming germ tubes, which are associated with greater virulence (nastier Candida).
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a potentially nasty bacterium, responds to opioids released by the gut during stress.
  • Other Pseudomonas species seem to interact with insulin, the blood sugar hormone.
  • Yersinia enterocolitica has a relationship with thyrotrophic hormone (TRH), which may be one reason why it is associated with thyroid disorders; under stress, TRH can increase and this cause Yersinia to become more aggressive.

I’m certain that future research will uncover more and more interesting interactions between the chemicals in our body and the bugs in our gut.

It’s not just about the bad bugs

The more research I do, and the more people we work with, the more I am convinced that the bad bugs aren’t fully to blame.

If you have digestive symptoms, it’s because you have a unique relationship with whichever bugs are in your gut.

The bugs we label “bad” aren’t actually bad at all – they only become bad under certain circumstances.

One of those circumstances is, without question, stress.

Why I Recommend a Home Stool Test

Running a home stool test is the quickest way I know to recover your digestive health, whilst boosting your energy, mood, and general wellbeing.

  • It saves you time, money and reduces your stress level by giving you peace of mind.
  • It tells you which bad bugs you have.
  • It tells you whether your good bug levels are healthy.
  • It also shows you whether you are digesting food properly.
  • AND it tells you how your immune system has been affected by stress and other factors.

Guaranty Ribbon

We’ve run more than 2,500 of these tests with folk from 23 different countries over the last half-decade, and we’d love to help you uncover the reason you’re not feeling well.

It’s a no-risk proposition: If the test doesn’t show you why you’re not feeling well, I’ll refund every penny.

If you want to check what’s causing your digestive symptoms, click here right now.

You won’t be disappointed.





1. Hompes, D. H. Pylori: From Heartburn to Heart Attacks.

2. Blazquez, et al. Communication between bacteria and their hosts. Scientifica

Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 361073, 15 pages.

3. Blazquez, et al. Communication between bacteria and their hosts. Scientifica

Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 361073, 15 pages.

4. Petra Ina Pfefferle and Harald Renz. The mucosal microbiome in shaping health and disease. F1000Prime Rep. 2014; 6: 11.