The Importance of a Healthy Microbiome

The Microbiome is one of the hottest areas of research now. There are over 37,000 articles on Pubmed, and the research on it has been growing exponentially for the last 10 years. Yet, the general public is not given much education on its importance, besides what their yogurt label says.

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Here are some of the main reasons that the microbiome is important for our health:

1. It profoundly effects our brain performance.

Our microbes produce metabolites and chemical messengers like neurotransmitters, neuropeptides, and cytokines in our gut that can influence the brain by activating the vagus nerve.An external file that holds a picture, illustration, etc. Object name is microorganisms-06-00035-g001.jpg

Photo credit: Microorganisms. 2018 Jun; 6(2): 35. 

2. It is linked to neurodegenerative conditions like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s when unbalanced.

This may be caused by the production of beta-amyloid by certain bacteria. This protein causes an increase pro-inflammatory cytokines in the gut and brain, and is linked to Alzheimer’s disease. RR2R3R4

3. It can improve our moodR

4. It can cause us to be skinny or fat. Our microbes can influence our metabolism, affecting our insulin sensitivity, and break down otherwise indigestible fibers into energy. RR2R3

4. It can cause inflammation. Inflammation is a contributing factor to many different diseases. R

5. It can influence our epigenetics. Some fiber sources are metabolized into molecules such as butyrate, which has acts as an HDAC inhibitor, modifying our gene expression. RR2R3R4

6. Our Microbiome can change how we respond to different foods and medicines.

Sometimes they can modify what we eat in beneficial ways and sometimes in harmful ways. RR2

7. It can predict our risk of cardiovascular diseaseR

8. They can protect our guts from becoming leaky and allowing undigested food to circulate in our bloodstream, wreaking systemic havoc. R

Fortunately, we can influence its composition by;

Eating a variety of whole foods and different fiber sources to feed a wider range of bacteria to improve the diversity in your gut and avoid excess processed food and sugar. RAn external file that holds a picture, illustration, etc. Object name is microorganisms-06-00035-g002.jpg

Photo credit: Microorganisms. 2018 Jun; 6(2): 35.

Taking phytochemicals that selectively benefit healthy strains of bacteria in our guts. RR2R3,

Exercising  – Besides a gut-brain axis there is also emerging research on a gut-muscle axis. R, R2R3R4

Sleeping well R, R2

Managing stress – Excess cortisol influences our guts.

If worse comes to worse, you can always get a fecal transplant. The science is still emerging on this cutting-edge procedure and the optimal microbiome you want to inoculate yourself with, but in most cases where a fecal transplant is needed, the recipients shouldn’t be too picky. There have some incredible results with this therapy.

Other reading that may be useful:

The Gut Microbiota and Alzheimer’s Disease

Role of gut microbiota in obesity, type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease

The gut microbiome as therapeutic target

Hot topics in microbiome research https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4040776/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immunoglobulin_A

3 comments

  1. […] To keep my insides clean, occasionally I eat kiwis with the skin on and activated charcoal. I’d like to think these things act like a brush and sponge for my gut and help keep my colon clean. Mice fed charcoal tend to live longer, likely because the charcoal adsorbs and clean out toxins from their system (or is it the fullerenes in charcoal? R). Besides these rarities, I also eat a wide variety of fibrous whole foods, especially vegetables, which have tons of benefits for the intestinal ecosystem and overall health. If you want to learn more about the importance of gut health, check out my article about it here. […]

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