What a great TV programme highlighting the fact that our guts play a far bigger role in our health than we ever thought. Even to the degree that our gut health may be having an impact on our ability to lose weight and keep it off. Here’s a highlight if you missed the show, click on the video to the right.
But how does your gut influence your health and how can you make changes for the better for your own health? What don’t we know that we need to know to help us help ourselves on the gut health front?
The environment in your gut is often referred to as the microbiome. These 9 points below explain more about the microbiome and how we can better understand its role in our health.
- Your microbiome is enormously vast
2. It’s immensely complex
With hundreds of known diverse bacterial species and many more still unknown, the bacterial diversity of your microbiome is an important part of your health. The more diverse your microbiome, the better your health potential tends to be, and that diversity comes from exposure to the down-and-dirty world, including not just the foods we eat (and how clean they are) but the dirt we work in outside, the animals that we play with, and the very air we breathe. Even how and where you were born! All these things determine the richness and diversity of your gut garden.
3. You are more bacteria than human
Your gut contains 100 trillion bacteria. Compare that to the 10 trillion human cells in your body, you are, in fact, 10 times more bacteria than human, if you are going by cell count! In addition, the genes of your microbiome bacteria outnumber your own by 100 to 1!
4. It’s the foundation of your health
Many seemingly unrelated health problems are now being linked to underlying gut problems such as diabetes and heart disease.
5. It holds the majority of your immune system
If you find yourself feeling chronically sick and run down, be sure to check your microbiome health. A staggering 75 to 80 percent of your immune system is produced in your gut! It’s no wonder that many immune issues, including autoimmune diseases, may be linked to hidden gastrointestinal problems.
6. It influences many aspects of your health
You may now be thinking, “I don’t have bloating, diarrhea, constipation, or IBS, so this doesn’t apply to me.” But you don’t have to have gut symptoms to have gut problems. The majority of underlying gut problems don’t have noticeable GI symptoms, but show themselves through systemic effects that manifest in other parts of your body.
7. It is your second brain
An amazing 95 percent of your happy neurotransmitter serotonin is made and stored in your gut! For this and for the reason that the gut and brain are directly connected through the vagus nerve, medical literature actually refers to the gut as the “second brain.”
This gut-brain axis connection is something we look at very closely in functional medicine. For example, anxiety and depression have been linked to lower levels of Lactobacillus helveticus and Bifidobacterium longum bacterial strains in the gut. It always amazes me what bacterial and yeast problems I find in the lab results of patients not coming in for gut problems but for brain problems like depression, anxiety, and brain fog. To have a healthy brain, you need a healthy gut.
8. It affects your weight
I’ve talked to countless clients who have struggled with weight gain since they were little kids. Now, some research suggests that the gut might be the missing link to chronic weight-loss resistance.
One study published in the scientific journal Nature found that weight gain was associated with bacterial imbalances, specifically higher amounts of the bacteria Firmicutes. Another 2015 study found that adults with metabolic syndrome who took a probiotic supplement showed improvements in their triglyceride levels and other risk factors for heart disease.
9. Your diet can influence your microbiome
A recent study found that polyphenols from foods such as blueberries, coffee, and extra-virgin olive oil play a significant role in the prevention of degenerative diseases by improving your microbiome environment. This is the power you wield with your fork!
adapted from drwillcole.com