The Microbiome and Digestive Health

You may have heard a lot about probiotics. Whether as a supplement, in yogurt to promote digestive health, or even fermented foods; recently it’s become very popular. I have found adding probiotics and healthy oils to my own diet and my family’s diet to be beneficial for us all. This was certainly a topic I was very interested in, so last year I attended Dr. Lia Nightingale’s seminar on digestive health and learned so many more important topics on the gut microbiome that I will share with you!

First of all, bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites are a good thing. REALLY. The microbiome is genes that are encoded by the microbiota. The Microbiota is 100 TRILLION bacteria and a quadrillion viruses in and on us. 99.1% of genes in the gut microbiome are bacteria and there are over 1,000 different species of bacteria. That is amazing to think about the genes in our digestive tract that are bacteria and how many different species there are!

A study performed on mice, where they were living in a germ-free environment found the following: they had blunted immune systems, did not gain weight when fed high a fat diet, lacked special cells located in the gut, and had inadequate respiratory activity. This is a great example of why we need bacteria in and on our bodies- it keeps us healthy.

So lets get to the good stuff, we know now how important digestive health is, including keeping the flora of our guts diverse. How can this help us feel better and maybe even LOSE WEIGHT?!!  Adipocyte tissue (fat cells) is directly correlated to the amount if inflammation in our bodies. Research indicates that gut inflammation may precede weight gain and adipose inflammation! So gut inflammation can actually cause us to gain weight! Here is the good news, weight loss through diet and lifestyle changes can decrease inflammation.

Another quick mice study: mice that were fed purified probiotic or probiotic yogurt prevented diet-induced obesity. Mice given an intestinal inflammatory diet induced weight gain & insulin resistance. Just more evidence pointing to the importance of gut flora diversity!

In summary, eating probiotic foods and pre biotic foods (prebiotics help feed the probiotics) can greatly aid your digestive health. Here are a few of my favorites.

Probiotic: yogurt, kefir, pickles, sauerkraut, and kombucha.

Prebiotic foods (prebiotics help feed the probiotics): chicory root, bananas, tomatoes, artichokes, garlic, onions, and asparagus.

If you are interested in speaking with me more about probiotics, such as taking a supplement, or a more complete diet to help with your digestion, call the office and we will get you in for nutritional visit!