Microbiome is the community of bacteria that we have within our gut, mostly within the large bowel. The microbiome has an effect throughout the body including digestion, immunity, inflammation and mental health. A healthy gut consists of a very diverse number of healthy bacteria, but no exact combination is “the healthy one”, as everyone is so different. This will change from person to person depending on their environment and lifestyle.
The way you FEEL can be a better dictator of how healthy your gut is. For example, bowel function. Normal bowel activity ranges from 3 times per day to 3 times per week. Bowel frequency outside this range, pain and discomfort in the belly, loose or hard pebble like stools, extreme bloating and excessive gas may suggest an unhealthy gut.
What creates UNhealthy microbiome?
Stress - fight or flight system suppresses digestion and causes inflammation
Antibiotics – wipe out good bacteria as they are combatting the bad. Some peoples guts take 6 months to regenerate a healthy microbiome
Processed and high sugar foods
What creates a healthy, diverse microbiome?
Fibre – include different types of whole grains (oats, rye, buckwheat), whole fruit and vegetables, beans and legumes.
Getting enough sleep
Stress reduction – mindfulness, mediation, exercise. We can’t take away certain stressors, so it is important how you MANAGE the stress.
Pre and Probiotics
What are prebiotics and probiotics?
Prebiotics are fibre types that feed and promote growth in good bacteria. They are found in onion, garlic, leek, asparagus, pistachios, oats, bananas, legumes and lentils.
Probiotics are the live bacteria itself. Food sources are found in fermented and live cultured foods including kombucha, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi and tempeh. If you are struggling to get enough probiotics from food or take a course of antibiotics, it may be beneficial to take a multi-strain probiotic supplement.
How does my gut affect my mental health?
Ever needed to rush to the toilet when you were super nervous?! This is because the gut and brain are connected.
The gut brain axis offers us a greater understanding of diet and disease, including depression and anxiety. 90% of serotonin receptors (our brain uses this to make us feel happy!) live in in the gut. When someone is prescribed an antidepressant such as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), the most common side effects are gut-related, and many people temporarily experience nausea, diarrhea, or gastrointestinal problems.
Gut Health from Birth
When babies are in utero they do not have a microbiome. It is created through birth and infancy. Research has shown completely different micribiome are present in a baby’s gut from a vaginal birth compared to a c-section. A vaginal birth creates bacteria found in the mother’s vagina, most commonly Group B Strep, Escherichia coli and Listeria monocytogenes. These are healthy bacteria, beneficial to an infant’s digestion and immune system. A C-section birth creates a microbiome consisting of what was present in the operating room, most commonly Klebsiella, Enterobacter and Clostridia, not as healthy as the above. Supplementing a c-section bub with probiotics as well as in mum’s diet via breastmilk can be a beneficial boost for a babies gut microbiome.
Healing an Inflamed Gut Lining
Leaky gut syndrome occurs when the gut lining becomes inflamed, then more pourous and permeable. This allows partially digested food particle, along with toxins and waste products to slip into the blood stream. The body then has an overall inflammatory response.
6 months gives your body time to recover from the inflammation in your gut lining.
To help heal the gut lining:
· Bone broth a collagen supplement
· Slippery Elm
· Remove inflammatory foods for 6 months ie. Gluten and dairy
· Speak to your health professional about IGG allergy testing
Overall look after yourself, stay calm and enjoy a diverse healthy diet 😊
Dr Jacqui xx
*References available on request