The Gut microbiota is a community of trillions of micro organisms all of which play a key role in gut health but also our overall health and wellbeing.
Having a Healthy and Efficient Digestive System
– Microorganisms influence the absorption of nutrients, produce digestive enzymes, ensure healthy motility and protect the gut wall from infection and inflammation.
How your Immune System Works
– Whether you have a strong or weak immune system. Whether you are likely to develop an autoimmune condition and whether you have food or environmental allergies. Therefore the health of the microbiome can influence whether you are susceptible to most chronic diseases from gut related illnesses such as Chrons disease and IBS to allergies including anaphylaxis, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and all forms of cancer.
Whether you can Detoxify Toxins Efficiently
–The gut is a key detoxification organ and many species assist in the removal of toxins including chemicals and ensure a healthy recycling of hormones.
Maintaining A Healthy Weight or Losing Weight
– Gut Health influences whether you are prone to putting on weight and many species of gut flora can aid weightloss.
Having a Healthy Mood
– You may have heard the term “the gut is the second brain”. A healthy balanced microbiota directly influences mood, clarity of thought and depression.
The word dysbiosis is used to describe the imbalance of gut flora resulting in detrimental symptoms. This imbalance can be between the so called bad bacteria or pathogenic bacteria and the healthy bacteria but it can also mean a lack of diversity in the species present in the gut.
This imbalance can result in gut symptoms such as constipation, diarrhoea, pain, reflux, bloating and inflammation.
How You can Have a Healthy Gut Biome
Research has found that spending time outside in nature ,playing sport , being physically active and having pets all can have a positive influence on the health of our microbiome.
A diet that includes a variety of healthy non processed foods which are full of fibre is ideal for supporting a healthy microbiome The more variety in the diet the more likelihood of having a diverse microbiome.
Highly processed foods and and a high sugar diet feed yeasts and pathogenic bacteria causing an imbalance of flora and can cause a leaky gut . Leaky gut occurs when the gut wall is damaged and it allows the movement through the intestinal lining of small food particles and cell wall fragments of bacteria. This process can put you at risk for a range of health conditions including all autoimmune illnesses and inflammatory illness and also allergies.
Enjoying a range of raw and cooked organic plant based foods can be very beneficial to the gut as it not only provides all important fibre but also delivers prebiotics into the gut which are the food source for the beneficial bacteria.
Other prebiotic foods include kiwifruit, beetroot, chickpeas, peaches ,green peas and cashew nuts.
It is worth noting that if some of the prebiotic foods cause symptoms of digestive discomfort, wind and bloating it may mean you have a condition called SIBO ( small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) and that is worth investigating that further.
Probiotics for Gut Health
Regular use of a good probiotic can definitely enhance the health of the microbiome. Because a lot of the probiotic species are eliminated in the stool it is a good idea to regularly include them in your diet.
The key message though is you need a really good, researched and live probiotic.
Probiotic strains are many and varied and it is important to know what strains are beneficial and what may potentially throw the balance of the flora out more.
Some probiotic species are great for reducing inflammation, some balance the immune system and are great when there are allergies or autoimmunity. Some species are great for weight loss and some for improving overall immunity.
If you have a great probiotic you can increase the health of your gut and potentially your whole body.
There are many probiotics on the market and just because a bottle lists lots of different strains doesn’t mean it is good .It is most likely given the foreign environment of many species in a capsule or bottle they often kill each other off and you are actually getting no probiotic at all. Most shelf stable probiotics are not shelf stable and it is likely again you are getting no or very little flora when you buy these.
When it comes to buying probiotics and prebiotic supplements its always ideal to be advised by a practitioner on what is right for you rather than buying hit and miss supplements from health shops or online.
Up until recently it has been very difficult to understand or know for sure what is happening with your own Microbiome.
Functional medicine has changed this and it is now easy to have extensive analyses of your gut bacteria, gut immunity, enzymes and much more.
Complete Microbiome Mapping and Comprehensive Digestive stool analysis tests are available from Laboratories in Australia and The USA.
You can do these tests from the comfort of your own home.
For more information on Microbiome Mapping click here