Mar 25, 2019 • Longeviti

The Gut Microbiome: 10 Things You Can Do to Ensure This Vital “Organ-like“ System Keeps You Healthy.

What is the Gut Microbiome?

  • 100 trillion bacteria cells — Over ten times the number of human cells in our bodies
  • Located in a “pouch” in your large intestine (cecum)
  • Weight: ~ 2-5 lbs.
  • One thousand species of bacteria: most are extremely beneficial, others may cause disease(1)

What does it do?:

From birth to death, the gut biome impacts food digestion, the immune system, the central nervous system and more. We need a healthy gut biome to:

  • Control our immune system: The gut biome interacts with your immune system to help direct your body’s response to infection (23)
  • Help control our brain health: New data indicates that the gut biome may affect the central nervous system and brain function (4)
  • Digest fiber: Other bacteria digest fiber to produce short-chain fatty acids, important for overall gut health. Fiber also helps by reducing weight gain as well as the risk(s) of diabetes, heart disease and some cancers (5678, 91011)
  • Digest breast milk: Some of the bacteria in babies’ intestines are called Bifidobacteria, and they are required for the digestion of those sugars in breast milk important for growth (131415)

I Broke My Biome: Now What?                                       

It’s not pretty!  An imbalance of healthy and unhealthy microbes is sometimes called gut dysbiosis. Dysbiosis can result in or contribute to:

  • Weight gain (1617).
  • Intestinal diseases including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) (252627)
  • “Leaky Gut Syndrome”: ( bloating, gas, cramps, food sensitivities, aches, and pains)
  • Inflammation via the production of chemicals that may block arteries and lead to heart disease

Also, there is new research indicating that gut dysbiosis may be related to:

  • Diabetes as an autoimmune response (to poor gut health)
  • The onset of Type 1 diabetes in children
    • Rheumatoid arthritis
    • Autism
    • Depression
    • Chronic fatigue
    • Chronic inflammation. 

How Did I Break My Biome?

By living here…, now!

Our gut biomes are becoming imbalanced because our modern western lifestyle(s) expose us to less “good” bacteria and more “bad” bacteria than in years past.

Today, many of us engage or are in contact with:

  • Rampant overuse of antibiotics
  • Diets, heavy on processed foods and preservatives
  • Environmental toxins

Antibiotics may treat your infection(s) by destroying bad bacteria, but the cure may well be worse than the disease

  • Antibiotics can wipe out your system’s “good” bacteria, damaging both your digestion and your immune system
  • A single course of antibiotics is strong enough to disrupt the normal makeup of microorganisms in the gut for up to a year, potentially leading to antibiotic resistance, says research published in mBio

So, if your gut biome gets out of whack, your body can develop inflammation and an increased risk for both autoimmune and chronic disease. That said, with a little care an maintenance, you can sharply reduce the negative health consequences of a bad gut biome

10 Things You Can Do to Repair Your Gut Biome

  1. If your diet is diverse, your gut biome is diverse. A diverse biome is a healthy biome. Eat legumes, beans and fruit containing lots of fiber to promote healthy Bifidobacteria(48495051)
  2. Eat fermented foods: Fermented foods such as sauerkraut and kefir contain Lactobacilli, able to reduce the amount of disease-causing bacteria in the gut (52)
  3. Eliminate artificial sweeteners: Aspartame increases blood sugar by stimulating the growth of unhealthy Enterobacteriaceae (53)
  4. Eat “prebiotic” foods: Prebiotic foods are high fiber and promote “good” bacteria, e.g., artichokes, bananas, asparagus, oats and apples (54)
  5. Breastfeed for at least six months: Breastfeeding is very beneficial. Children who breastfeed for at least six months have more beneficial Bifidobacteria those bottle-fed (55)
  6. Eat whole grains: Beyond the fiber, whole grains contain beta-glucan, which is digested by gut bacteria with benefits for body weight, cancer risk, diabetes and more. (5657)
  7. Go Veggie: Vegetarian diets may help reduce levels of disease-causing bacteria such as  coli, as well as inflammation and cholesterol (5859)
  8. Eat polyphenol-rich foods: Polyphenols are plant compounds found in red wine, green tea, dark chocolate, olive oil, and whole grains. They promote healthy bacterial growth (6061)
  9. Take a probiotic supplement: Probiotics are live bacteria that repopulate the gut with healthy microbes, restoring it to health after dysbiosis. (62) Another possible benefit: lower cholesterol and a reduced risk of heart disease.
  10. Take antibiotics only when (absolutely) medically necessaryRemember, antibiotics kill both bad and good bacteria with devastating long-term consequences for your intestinal flora

If you’ve undergone antibiotic treatment or suffer from symptoms associated with gut dysbiosis, your Longeviti Health physician will work with you to rapidly restore your gut biome to its proper balance.

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