Whether you call them 𝘨𝘶𝘵 𝘧𝘭𝘰𝘳𝘢, 𝘮𝘪𝘤𝘳𝘰𝘣𝘪𝘰𝘵𝘢, 𝘮𝘪𝘤𝘳𝘰𝘧𝘭𝘰𝘳𝘢, 𝘮𝘪𝘤𝘳𝘰𝘣𝘦𝘴, 𝘨𝘶𝘵 𝘣𝘢𝘤𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘪𝘢, 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘨𝘰𝘰𝘥 𝘨𝘶𝘺𝘴, 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘣𝘢𝘥 𝘨𝘶𝘺𝘴 - we are in essence speaking about the same thing: 𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗚𝘂𝘁 𝗠𝗶𝗰𝗿𝗼𝗯𝗶𝗼𝗺𝗲
The skin, nose, mouth, ear canal, lungs, stomach and urogenital tract all have their own microbiome.
The 𝘨𝘶𝘵 𝘮𝘪𝘤𝘳𝘰𝘣𝘪𝘰𝘮𝘦 has been a hot topic over the past handful of years and it is a relatively new field. The microbiome was not generally recognized to exist until the late 1990s.
𝗪𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗶𝘀 𝗶𝘁?
The gastrointestinal tract is home to trillions of microbes, collectively called the 𝘨𝘶𝘵 𝘮𝘪𝘤𝘳𝘰𝘣𝘪𝘰𝘮𝘦.
Some scientists have estimated that there are 10 times more microbial cells in the body than there are human cells, while others say that the ratio may be closer to 1:1.
The human microbiota is made up of trillions of cells, including bacteria, viruses, and fungi.
The biggest populations of microbes reside in the gut. We will be addressing mainly bacteria in this series.
The microorganisms living inside the gastrointestinal tract amount to around 4 pounds of biomass.
Every individual has a unique mix of species.
𝐅𝐮𝐧 𝐅𝐚𝐜𝐭: 𝟗𝟗% 𝐨𝐟 𝐡𝐮𝐦𝐚𝐧 𝐠𝐞𝐧𝐞𝐭𝐢𝐜 𝐦𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐚𝐥 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐬 𝐟𝐫𝐨𝐦 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐛𝐮𝐠𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐥𝐢𝐯𝐞 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐠𝐮𝐭
They play a key role in digesting food you eat, and they help with absorbing and synthesizing nutrients too. Gut bugs are involved in many other important processes that extend beyond your gut, including your metabolism, body weight, and immune regulation, as well as your brain functions and mood.
There are up to 1,000 species of bacteria in the human gut microbiome, and each of them plays a different role in your body. Most of them are extremely important for your health but other can cause disease or dysbiosis.
𝐃𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐥𝐨𝐩𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐨𝐟 𝐌𝐢𝐜𝐫𝐨𝐛𝐢𝐨𝐭𝐚
In utero, the fetus is thought to be completely devoid of microbes.
We begin to be colonized by bacteria during the birth process when they pass through the vagina, or from contact with the mom’s skin, if the delivery is by cesarean section.
Some research supports microbiota may come from the placenta, umbilical cord blood, ect.
First days of life, the type of the microorganisms will be different, depending whether the baby is breastfeeding or drinking formula.
After babies begin to eat solid, they get microbes from their diet, as well as crawling on the floor, from putting their hands in their mouths, ect.
Diet, age, baby feeding method, birth delivery and antibiotic usage all determines one's gut microbiota.
𝗪𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗯𝗮𝗰𝘁𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗮 𝗶𝘀 𝗹𝗼𝗰𝗮𝘁𝗲𝗱
For gut bacteria, the large intestine and colon harbor the majority of bacteria, whereas the small intestine should have a significantly lower amount.
𝗧𝘆𝗽𝗲𝘀 𝗼𝗳 𝗯𝗮𝗰𝘁𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗮
Microbiota diversity increases with age until it becomes a stable adult microbiota composition dominated by three bacterial phyla: 𝘍𝘪𝘳𝘮𝘪𝘤𝘶𝘵𝘦𝘴, 𝘉𝘢𝘤𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘰𝘪𝘥𝘦𝘵𝘦𝘴, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘈𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘰𝘣𝘢𝘤𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘪𝘢. With Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes representing 90% of gut microbiota.
𝗙𝘂𝗻 𝗙𝗮𝗰𝘁: 𝗕𝗮𝗹𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗱𝗶𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘀𝗶𝘁𝘆 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝗸𝗲𝘆 𝘄𝗵𝗲𝗻 𝗶𝘁 𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗲𝘀 𝘁𝗼 𝗮 𝗵𝗲𝗮𝗹𝘁𝗵𝘆 𝘀𝘆𝗺𝗯𝗶𝗼𝘁𝗶𝗰 𝗿𝗲𝗹𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀𝗵𝗶𝗽 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗺𝗶𝗰𝗿𝗼𝗯𝗲𝘀.
It's unnerving to think about the number of microorganisms we coexist with, especially when we read such data as there is more bacteria in our body than our own human cells.
Our microbiome contains a wide range of microbes, some are beneficial and some can be detrimental.
In a healthy person, these “bugs” coexist peacefully, and is even labeled a supporting organ because it plays so many key roles in promoting the smooth daily operations of the human body. Our Gut Microbiome has far-reaching roles that are tied to so many different bodily functions.
𝗟𝗲𝘁'𝘀 𝗹𝗼𝗼𝗸 𝗮𝘁 𝗮 𝗳𝗲𝘄 𝗯𝗲𝗹𝗼𝘄
Helping to produce hormones/neurotransmitters (serotonin, Gaba, dopamine)
Aiding in the extraction of energy (calories) and nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fatty acids and antioxidants
Managing our appetite and body weight
Digesting fiber which helps form stool
Controlling our moods, motivation and cognitive health
Preventing us from catching colds and viruses
Helping repair damaged tissues and injuries
Research is still discovering more
On the other hand, having an unhealthy microbiome may be a contributing factor for many common diseases.
Research has found links between disturbed or pathogenic bacterial populations, and the following conditions: 𝘨𝘢𝘴𝘵𝘳𝘰𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘴𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘢𝘭 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘥𝘪𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘴 𝘴𝘶𝘤𝘩 𝘢𝘴 𝘪𝘯𝘧𝘭𝘢𝘮𝘮𝘢𝘵𝘰𝘳𝘺 𝘣𝘰𝘸𝘦𝘭 𝘥𝘪𝘴𝘦𝘢𝘴𝘦 (𝘐𝘉𝘋) 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘪𝘳𝘳𝘪𝘵𝘢𝘣𝘭𝘦 𝘣𝘰𝘸𝘦𝘭 𝘴𝘺𝘯𝘥𝘳𝘰𝘮𝘦 (𝘐𝘉𝘚), 𝘧𝘰𝘰𝘥 𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘦𝘳𝘨𝘪𝘦𝘴, 𝘴𝘬𝘪𝘯 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘥𝘪𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘴, 𝘰𝘣𝘦𝘴𝘪𝘵𝘺, 𝘵𝘺𝘱𝘦 2 𝘥𝘪𝘢𝘣𝘦𝘵𝘦𝘴, 𝘢𝘶𝘵𝘰𝘪𝘮𝘮𝘶𝘯𝘪𝘵𝘺 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘮𝘰𝘰𝘥 𝘪𝘮𝘣𝘢𝘭𝘢𝘯𝘤𝘦𝘴 (𝘨𝘶𝘵-𝘣𝘳𝘢𝘪𝘯 𝘢𝘹𝘪𝘴).
𝐅𝐮𝐧 𝐅𝐚𝐜𝐭: 𝐰𝐞 𝐜𝐚𝐧 𝐬𝐮𝐩𝐩𝐨𝐫𝐭 𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐠𝐮𝐭 𝐦𝐢𝐜𝐫𝐨𝐛𝐢𝐨𝐭𝐚 𝐭𝐡𝐫𝐨𝐮𝐠𝐡 𝐧𝐮𝐭𝐫𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐬𝐮𝐩𝐩𝐨𝐫𝐭𝐢𝐯𝐞 𝐬𝐮𝐩𝐩𝐥𝐞𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧.
Our modern lifestyles, western diets and overuse of antibiotics might all be having a harmful effect on our gut health.
Research shows we can support our gut microbiota through nutrition and other supportive measures.
We know from our previous post that having a diverse, abundant and balanced amount of good bacteria in the gut is key for overall health.
𝗗𝗶𝗱 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗸𝗻𝗼𝘄?
An imbalance in the gut, is called dysbiosis.
Gut dysbiosis occurs when there is an imbalance in the number and diversity of your gut microflora. This can impact your health in various ways.
𝗖𝗼𝗺𝗺𝗼𝗻 𝘀𝗶𝗴𝗻𝘀 𝗼𝗳 𝗴𝘂𝘁 𝗯𝗮𝗰𝘁𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗮 𝗶𝗺𝗯𝗮𝗹𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲: Digestive issues like bloating, gas, acid reflux, constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain and skin rashes.
𝕎𝕙𝕖𝕟 𝕝𝕖𝕗𝕥 𝕦𝕟𝕥𝕣𝕖𝕒𝕥𝕖𝕕, 𝕕𝕪𝕤𝕓𝕚𝕠𝕤𝕚𝕤 𝕔𝕒𝕟 𝕔𝕠𝕟𝕥𝕣𝕚𝕓𝕦𝕥𝕖 𝕥𝕠 𝕚𝕝𝕝𝕟𝕖𝕤𝕤𝕖𝕤 𝕠𝕗 𝕒𝕝𝕝 𝕜𝕚𝕟𝕕𝕤, 𝕚𝕟𝕔𝕝𝕦𝕕𝕚𝕟𝕘 𝕒𝕟𝕩𝕚𝕖𝕥𝕪 𝕒𝕟𝕕 𝕕𝕖𝕡𝕣𝕖𝕤𝕤𝕚𝕠𝕟, 𝕝𝕦𝕡𝕦𝕤, 𝕄𝕊, 𝕝𝕖𝕒𝕜𝕪 𝕘𝕦𝕥, 𝕒𝕟𝕕 𝕕𝕚𝕒𝕓𝕖𝕥𝕖𝕤.
𝗟𝗼𝘄𝗲𝗿 𝘀𝘂𝗴𝗮𝗿 𝗶𝗻𝘁𝗮𝗸𝗲
Research shows a high sugar diet alters the composition of gut microbiota, favoring the growth of several pathogenic bacteria that degrade the mucus layer of the intestine.
Fiber is the food that healthy gut bacteria like to eat (prebiotic). Dietary fiber can only be broken down and fermented by enzymes from microbiota living in the colon. Examples: asparagus, bananas, chicory, garlic, artichoke, onions.
𝗟𝗮𝘆𝗲𝗿 𝗶𝗻 𝗳𝗲𝗿𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗱 𝗳𝗼𝗼𝗱𝘀
Fermented foods are a natural source of probiotics (live bacteria). Examples: fermented veggies, kefir, kimchi, kombucha, sauerkraut, tempeh. Caution: careful adding if you have candida or SIBO.
Nourishing Tip: Stool testing is an excellent tool to create a personalized gut healing program to bring balance to your gut microbiome.
Let's discuss supplementation approaches.
Prebiotics are specialized plant fibers. They act like fertilizers that stimulate the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut. Common forms include: Arabinogalactan, Beta-glucans, Fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS), Inulin …
𝕤𝕠𝕞𝕖 𝕡𝕣𝕖𝕓𝕚𝕠𝕥𝕚𝕔𝕤 𝕔𝕒𝕟 𝕒𝕘𝕘𝕣𝕒𝕧𝕒𝕥𝕖 𝕔𝕖𝕣𝕥𝕒𝕚𝕟 𝕔𝕠𝕟𝕕𝕚𝕥𝕚𝕠𝕟𝕤 𝕝𝕚𝕜𝕖 𝕀𝔹𝕊. 𝕊𝕥𝕒𝕣𝕥 𝕝𝕠𝕨 𝕒𝕟𝕕 𝕘𝕠 𝕤𝕝𝕠𝕨.
Probiotics contain live organisms, usually specific strains of bacteria that directly add to the population of healthy microbes in your gut. They work by colonizing and interacting with the gut microbiome, inhibiting the growth of pathogens, and producing beneficial compounds. Like prebiotics, you can take probiotics through both food and supplements.
Choosing the right probiotic can be overwhelming. Dr. Rusico breaks down the types of probiotics into three categories.
𝗖𝗮𝘁𝗲𝗴𝗼𝗿𝘆 𝟭: Lactobacillus & bifidobacterium species predominated blends.
Live microorganisms used in foods such as yogurt, kefir.
They typically do not colonize the host, but do improve the health of the host.
𝗖𝗮𝘁𝗲𝗴𝗼𝗿𝘆 𝟮: Saccharomyces Boulardii (healthy fungus).
Second most researched probiotic.
S. boulardii is not a normal part of the human microbiota, - it does not colonize us.
They help fight the pathogenic bad bugs.
𝗖𝗮𝘁𝗲𝗴𝗼𝗿𝘆 𝟯: Soil-Based Probiotics (spore forming bacteria)
Clinical trials evaluating their effectiveness.
This category of probiotic can colonize the host.
Nourishing Tip: Layering all categories, may be one of the most effective ways to address one's GI health.
There is considerable research showing our lifestyle choices such as our diet play a significant
role in the health of our microbiome.
𝐋𝐞𝐭’𝐬 𝐫𝐞𝐯𝐢𝐞𝐰 𝐬𝐨𝐦𝐞 𝐛𝐞𝐥𝐨𝐰:
Improve sleep: Research shows that sleep and gut bacteria are actually intricately connected and having a more diverse gut microbiome increases sleep outcomes.
Lower stress: Studies suggest that psychological stressors can disrupt the microorganisms in the intestines.
Build your immune system: Building your immune system so that you can avoid any unnecessary antibiotics is crucial. Research shows they are damaging to the gut microbiota and immunity, even up to 6 months after taking.
Let's shift gears and discuss the 𝟱-𝗥 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝘁𝗼𝗰𝗼𝗹 developed by the Institute of Functional Medicine.
The 𝟱-𝗥 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝘁𝗼𝗰𝗼𝗹 is a systematic and comprehensive approach that improves symptoms and repairs the gut. Additionally, I use functional testing to guide the process for a more personalized approach.
Step 1: Remove
Crucial first step is to remove anything that may be irritating or inflaming the gut. This can be the foods, medications, infections in the gut, stress, toxins and more. This is often the longest step.
Step 2: Replace
We layer in support that the body needs, such as enzymes to help digest foods, bitters to help with fat digestion and foods that build your nutrition profile.
Step 3: Repopulate
We support the microbiome and help rebuild the gut bacteria. This can include adding certain foods to the diet and layering supplemental pre/probiotics.
Step 4: Repair
We encourage repair of the intestinal cells and mucosa, reduce inflammation and help our microbiome find a happy home within our digestive tract.
Step 5: Rebalance
Lifestyle choices play a huge role in maintaining a healthy gut. We optimize all aspects of our everyday choices to ensure lasting the best overall and long lasting outcome.
Want to deep dive. Reach out. This is what we do!
Have a Nourishing Day!
Sources: PMID: 30240894, PMID: 25415497, doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms8111715, PMID: 29748817, PMID: 26770121, draxe/health/gut-bacteria, PMID: 29071061, 30002765, 30149548, 25028050 ard.bmj.com/content/78/7/947