Collectively, the microbes found in your gut weigh nearly ten pounds. They influence almost every organ in your body, including turning genes on and off, and using an amount of energy similar to other organs.
It has been suggested that humans are super-organisms – dependent on other organisms to survive. The Human Microbiome Project studies all microbe genes in the body (the “second genome”).
Other things we know about the gut microbiome, the forgotten organ:
- It contains 3.3 million redundant genes.
- Diversity is the key to your health.
- It can be a huge contributor to epigenetics.
- It affects digestion, illness, immunity, inflammation, and more.
- It seems to respond to diet.
- It’s as unique as a fingerprint.
- She evolved with us (very adaptable).
THE MICROBIOMA AND DIGESTION
The large intestine is home to most intestinal bacteria and all microbial organisms. Bacteria live in the lumen and feed on indigestible plant fibers and the mucosal lining of the large intestine. Intestinal bacteria are the main contributors to metabolic processes. They serve as guardians of the digestive system. It helps to digest food (indigestive fibre), extracting energy from carbohydrates through fermentation.
Create essential building blocks:
- Vitamins (Vitamin K is produced only by bacteria)
- Amino acids
- Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFAs) – eg acetate, butyrate, propionate
Can “starve” harmful bacteria
Send regulatory signals that control functions such as hunger and motility
Protect against pathogens
It can determine if the drug/supplement will work (how the body responds to it)
Two main types of bacteria:
- Aerobics: need oxygen to survive (tend to be more pathogenic)
- Anaerobic: cannot survive in oxygen-rich environments
Dysbiosis: microbial community imbalance (present in many chronic health conditions)
The proportions of different intestinal bacteria can reflect or influence:
Dietary changes can alter intestinal bacteria, both in the short and long term. Diversity is important!
Bacteria can change quickly based on the food consumed.
The Standard Diet seems to be correlated with less diversity, which can lead to
to chronic health conditions.
Greater bacterial diversity equates to a healthier and more resilient ecosystem.
The healthy microbiome is one without disease that is full of diverse bacteria that produce the essential vitamins, short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), and immune-regulating molecules.
Two key elements of a microbiologically balanced diet:
- What can you remove from diet/lifestyle to limit damage to diversity
- What You Can Positively Do to Increase Diversity and Feed Microbes
- Limit the use of medications
- Eat lots of soluble fiber. (This is what the gut
- bacteria eat): Vegetables, beans, oat bran, barley,
- flaxseeds, split peas, Inulin such as onions, garlic, leeks,
- jicama, asparagus, artichoke
- Healthy fats
- Whole grains (instead of whites),
- processed, or refined)
- Reduce antibiotic use when possible. Consume fermented foods.
- Discontinue use of strong antibacterial soaps.
- and cleaning products when not needed.
- Use plain soap and water or make your own
- natural cleaning agents – when viral
- Disinfection is not a concern.
- Don’t overdo the meat. Choose organic,
- hormone-free, and antibiotic-free foods when
- Buy local.
- Avoid artificial sweeteners. Eat more fruits, which are naturally sweet.