Are EMFs Messing With Your Gut Health?

In the United States, it’s estimated that 60 to 70 million people are affected by digestive issues[1]. While diet and lifestyle play a crucial role in your digestive health, outside factors can also contribute to how well your body processes food. 

EMFs, or electromagnetic fields from wireless internet and cell phones, are a silent contributor to digestive disturbance. These frequencies, which are everywhere in your environment, can affect the way your digestive system functions and may be an underlying factor in many health issues related to the digestive tract. 

Even if your digestion is relatively good, exposure to EMFs overtime may tip the scale and set you up for digestive disruption. 

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • How EMFs trigger explosive growth of pathogenic bacteria and fungus in your gut
  • How EMFs can cause lasting damage to your gut bacteria
  • Research shows that EMF radiation may be increasing the number of pathogens that are becoming antibiotic-resistant.
  • Healthy bacteria help your body synthesize vitamin K, thiamine, folate, biotin, riboflavin, and pantothenic acid
  • How poor sleep and stress further exacerbate the risks associated with EMF exposure 
  • The best ways to mitigate the harmful effects of EMFs

The Importance Of Healthy Digestion

Healthy digestion is a cornerstone of overall health and wellness. For thousands of years, traditional systems of medicine from the East, like Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda, have understood that the health of your body begins in your gut. 

In the West, new understandings about the connection between your gut and brain, as well as your gut and immune system, have further underlined how crucial digestion is to the health of your entire body. 

Aside from its obvious role in breaking down food and absorbing macronutrients (carbs, fat, protein), as well as vitamins and minerals, there are a number of other crucial processes that take place in your gut. While enzymes and digestive juices play a large role in healthy digestion, the real stars of your gut are the bacteria that live there.

Your gut bacteria, also known as your microbiome, are responsible for a myriad of physiological functions that you may not even be aware of. In fact, there are an estimated 100 trillion bacteria in your body, with 1000 different species. To put that in perspective, that’s ten times more bacteria cells in your body than human cells[2].

If you can imagine how busy your own cells are in keeping up with your everyday physiology, the range in which your bacteria cells operate seems almost unthinkable. 

Just a small handful of the jobs that fall under the purview of your gut bacteria include[3][4]:

  • Protection from pathogens
  • Development of your immune response
  • Intestinal angiogenesis (the development of new blood vessels)
  • Metabolism of nutrients 
  • Production of proteins
  • Protection against inflammation
  • Synthesis of vitamin K and folic acid
  • Neurotransmitter production

Furthermore, evidence continues to suggest that the state of your gut microbiome may have a significant impact on the state of your mental health. The understanding of the gut-brain axis is still in its infancy, but research shows that imbalances in your gut microbiota could lead to mental health conditions like depression and anxiety[5][6][7]. 

EMFs and Digestion

Research continues to show the myriad of effects that EMFs can have on the human body. It seems as though no type of tissue or system is safe from the detrimental harm that EMFs can cause. And your digestive tract is no exception. 

Here are some ways that research shows EMFs may be impacting your digestive health:

Promoting Pathogenic Bacteria

Research shows that EMF exposure increases the growth of harmful bacteria in your gut, while halting the growth of beneficial bacteria[8]. I first learned of this phenomena interviewing Dr Dietrich Klinghardt – I was in complete shock at this realization. 

 Your gut is populated with thousands of strains of bacteria. In a healthy gut, the majority of these strains will be made up of beneficial bacteria, while harmful bacteria will be kept to a minimum. It should be roughly a balance of 85% beneficial to 15% “bad” bacteria. The “bad” bacteria are only problematic when there is an opportunity for them to overgrow. This balance is crucial to the overall health and activity of your microbiome. 

In healthy conditions, your beneficial bacteria are able to control the growth of harmful bacteria, and your gut stays in a place of equilibrium. However, in the presence of stressors like EMFs, this equilibrium is challenged, and pathogenic bacteria can take over. 

With the significant role that gut bacteria play in your physiology, it should come as no surprise that when this delicate balance gets knocked off-course, the side effects can be quite harmful. 

Some conditions associated with dysbiosis, or imbalanced gut bacteria, include[9][10][11]: 

  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth)
  • Irritable bowel syndrome 
  • Colitis 
  • Obesity
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
  • Autism 
  • Impaired immunity 
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

The impact of dysbiosis on how your body breaks down and utilizes nutrients is also significant. Healthy bacteria are not only required for proper digestion, but they also help your body synthesize crucial micronutrients like vitamin K, thiamine, folate, biotin, riboflavin, and pantothenic acid[12]. 

Antibiotic Resistance and EMF

Antibiotic resistance happens when pathogens develop the ability to live in the presence of antibiotics – leaving antibiotic resistant strains – after a round of antibiotics. This leads to increases in harmful bacteria, as well as illnesses that can’t be cured with antibiotics. Infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria are incredibly difficult to treat, and in some cases, cannot be treated at all[13].

Research shows that EMF radiation may be increasing the number of pathogens that are becoming antibiotic-resistant. In one study, researchers exposed two bacteria, Listeria monocytogenes and Escherichia coli, to EMF radiation from WiFi and mobile phones to assess the bacteria’s activity.

During their exposure to EMFs, both the Listeria monocytogenes and Escherichia coli become resistant to antibiotics. What’s more, the researchers also found that the bacteria strains became stronger and were able to replicate faster[14].

The effect that antibiotic resistance can have on your natural gut flora could be devastating as these opportunistic organisms push out healthy bacteria and take over your gut ecosystem[15]. 

The Stress Connection

Research shows that EMFs can have a direct effect on your nervous system, increasing your stress response[16]. 

Due to the intimate interplay between the mind and the body, mental and emotional stress often has a direct impact on your digestion. Have you ever had “butterflies in your stomach” before a big meeting? 

In fact, some digestive issues like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are thought to be a product of emotional stress rather than a physical imbalance. 

Some of the ways that stress directly affects your digestion include[17]:

  • How quickly food moves through your body, causing diarrhea or constipation
  • Gas production related to nutrient malabsorption
  • Inhibition of nutrient uptake in the intestines 
  • Painful muscles spasms in the intestines (cramps)
  • The weakening of the intestinal barrier (leaky gut)
  • Changes in your microbiota

It’s fair to say that you would be hard-pressed to find many people that don’t experience some level of stress from day to day. Between work, family, and the current state of the world, sources of stress are quite literally everywhere. 

However, when EMFs come into the picture, your nervous system can become activated to switch into sympathetic (fight or flight) mode, which magnifies any real-life stressor that you may be dealing with. 

In one study, researchers measured heart rate variability (HRV) in participants that were exposed to EMF radiation from wireless phones. HRV is a common marker used by researchers to determine whether someone is in sympathetic (fight or flight) or parasympathetic (rest and digest) mode. 

The researchers found that 40% of the participants switched over to fight or flight mode, simply by being in the presence of EMF radiation[18]. 

Animal research also shows that EMF exposure can increase adrenal gland activity, and the release of the stress hormone cortisol[19].

As you can imagine, the additional stress that EMFs may be causing your system could only serve to further push your digestive system out of balance. 

The Sleep Connection

One of the most common complaints that people have about EMF exposure is a disruption in their sleep cycle. This is due, in part, to the effect that these frequencies have on your ability to produce the sleep hormone melatonin. 

Melatonin helps your body and mind shut down so you can get a restful night of sleep. It’s secreted by your pineal gland when your body senses a lack of sunlight (an indication that it’s nighttime)[20]. 

But here’s the problem: your pineal gland senses EMFs as sunlight. That means the WiFi and other sources of EMFs that are constantly streaming through your home are sending the signal to your body that it’s still daytime. And your body, dutiful as always, halts its production of melatonin under the assumption that it’s not yet time for bed[21]. 

The result? Restless nights of sleep that leave you feeling drained and out of balance in the morning. 

One system that takes an especially hard-hit from a poor night’s sleep is your digestion. In fact, gastrointestinal disorders like acid reflux, ulcers, inflammatory bowel disease, and even liver disease have been directly associated with the stress caused by inadequate sleep[22][23]. 

How To Mitigate EMF-Induced Digestive Issues

It may sound like it’s all bad news when it comes to EMFs and digestion. But take heart — there are actually a handful of useful tips and tools you can use to mitigate the damage that these frequencies cause. 

The first place to start is in your home. In any way that you can, try to reduce your EMF exposure where you live. Some tips for reducing in-home EMFs include:

  • Turn your WiFi off when you’re not using it (especially at night). If you work from home, as many do these days, it may be hard to turn your WiFi off during the day. While you sleep, however, it’s crucial to turn that WiFi off so your body can produce the melatonin it needs to put you to sleep. 
  • Put your phone on airplane mode when you’re not using it. If you’re not expecting a call or you’re in work-mode and don’t want to be disturbed, you might as well put your phone on airplane mode. If the idea of shutting off this source of connection makes you nervous, at the very least, you can keep your phone in a separate room with the ringing on loud so you can hear it if someone calls. 
  • Unplug electronics you’re not using. This includes things like the microwave, air conditioning units, and coffee machines. You can even unplug your TV and lamps when you’re not using them.
  • Remove electronics from your bedroom. There is no need to have your computer in your room while you sleep. And if possible, keep your phone in a separate room (or on airplane mode) during the night.
  • Limit the use of smart devices. Although smart technology can make our lives much easier, it comes with a price. Smart devices are EMF hotbeds.  
  • Support a balanced stress response to EMF with the Harmoni Pendant, shown in research to improve heart rate variability, a measure of the body’s ability to adapt to stress

Takeaway: EMFs May Be At The Root Of Your Digestive Concerns

If you’ve been battling with digestive issues, there’s a good chance that EMFs are directly or indirectly contributing. Research shows the connection between EMFs and digestive disorders like leaky gut, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), acid reflux, constipation, diarrhea, SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), colitis, and more.

EMFs can throw your gut microbiota off-balance, resulting in a host of digestive and immune issues. They also contribute to stress and sleep-related problems, which further exacerbate digestive distress. 

Click Here for References+

References:

  1. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-statistics/digestive-diseases
  2. Wang, Hao, et al. “Good or bad: gut bacteria in human health and diseases.” Biotechnology & Biotechnological Equipment 32.5 (2018): 1075-1080.
  3. Johnson, Coreen L., and James Versalovic. “The human microbiome and its potential importance to pediatrics.” Pediatrics 129.5 (2012): 950-960.
  4. Bull, Matthew J., and Nigel T. Plummer. “Part 1: The human gut microbiome in health and disease.” Integrative Medicine: A Clinician’s Journal 13.6 (2014): 17.
  5. Cheung, Stephanie G., et al. “Systematic review of gut microbiota and major depression.” Frontiers in psychiatry 10 (2019): 34.
  6. Butler, Mary I., et al. “The Gut Microbiome and Mental Health: What Should We Tell Our Patients?: Le microbiote Intestinal et la Santé Mentale: que Devrions-Nous dire à nos Patients?.” The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry 64.11 (2019): 747-760.
  7. Yang, Beibei, et al. “Effects of regulating intestinal microbiota on anxiety symptoms: A systematic review.” General psychiatry 32.2 (2019).
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  9. Zhang, Yu-Jie, et al. “Impacts of gut bacteria on human health and diseases.” International journal of molecular sciences 16.4 (2015): 7493-7519.
  10. Rogers, G. B., et al. “From gut dysbiosis to altered brain function and mental illness: mechanisms and pathways.” Molecular psychiatry 21.6 (2016): 738-748.
  11. Quigley, Eamonn MM. “Gut bacteria in health and disease.” Gastroenterology & hepatology 9.9 (2013): 560.
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  13. https://www.cdc.gov/drugresistance/about.html
  14. Taheri, M., et al. “Evaluation of the effect of radiofrequency radiation emitted from Wi-Fi router and mobile phone simulator on the antibacterial susceptibility of pathogenic bacteria listeria monocytogenes and Escherichia coli.” Dose-Response 15.1 (2017): 1559325816688527.
  15. Gupta, Madhu, et al. “Antibiotic-resistant Enterobacteriaceae in healthy gut flora: A report from north Indian semiurban community.” The Indian Journal of Medical Research 149.2 (2019): 276.
  16. Misek, Jakub, et al. “Heart rate variability affected by radiofrequency electromagnetic field in adolescent students.” Bioelectromagnetics 39.4 (2018): 277-288.
  17. https://www.apa.org/helpcenter/stress/effects-gastrointestinal#:~:text=It%20can%20affect%20how%20quickly,to%20nutrient%20absorption%20may%20increase
  18. https://www.emf-portal.org/en/article/18905
  19. Perov, Sergey, Nina Rubtsova, and Quirino Balzano. “Effects of 171 MHz Low‐Intensity Electromagnetic Field on Glucocorticoid and Mineral Corticoid Activity of the Adrenal Glands of Rats.” Bioelectromagnetics 40.8 (2019): 578-587.
  20. Zisapel, Nava. “New perspectives on the role of melatonin in human sleep, circadian rhythms and their regulation.” British journal of pharmacology 175.16 (2018): 3190-3199
  21. Halgamuge, Malka N. “Pineal melatonin level disruption in humans due to electromagnetic fields and ICNIRP limits.” Radiation protection dosimetry 154.4 (2013): 405-416.
  22. Hyun, Min Kyung, Younghwa Baek, and Siwoo Lee. “Association between digestive symptoms and sleep disturbance: a cross-sectional community-based study.” BMC gastroenterology 19.1 (2019): 34.
  23. Khanijow, Vikesh, et al. “Sleep dysfunction and gastrointestinal diseases.” Gastroenterology & hepatology 11.12 (2015): 817.

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Wendy Myers, FDN-P, is a heavy metals detox expert, functional diagnostic nutritionist and founder of Myersdetox.com. Discover her Myers Detox Protocol and enjoy freedom from fatigue and brain fog with heavy metal detox. Wendy is also the creator of the Mitochondria Detox , the only supplement kit on the market that helps you to remove toxic metals that cause fatigue.