Did you feed your gut microbiome today?
Hippocrates, the ancient Greek physician who was also regarded as the father of medicine, stated that "All disease begins in the gut". Current scientific research is proving him correct.
What is the Gut Microbiome?
Hallie: The microbiome is a collection of Microbes, which are tiny living microorganisms; such as bacteria, fungi and viruses.
We have more microbial cells in our body than we do human cells. In fact, microbial cells outnumber our human cells by a factor of 10:1!
AND just like everything else, every microbiome is bio-individual, the composition of gut bugs can vary from person to person.
Fun fact; your gut microbiome is constantly changing through out your life, and it's affected by age, what foods you eat and even where you live.
The gut microbiome has many important roles.
It controls blood sugar levels and cholesterol, fights off infections, boosts immune systems and improves digestion and absorption of vitamins. It also influences weights, moods and appetites.
A healthy diversity of the right kinds of microorganisms in the gut is one of the most fundamental aspects of good health.
If our microbiome isn't happy, then our body isn't going to be happy either.
This is why choosing foods that support and help the microbiome to thrive is so important.
What do ecosystems and gut microbiomes have in common?
Mary: An ecosystem is a community of living organisms (plants, animals and microbes) that interact with each other and their environment.
This might take you back to your elementary school years.
We think of larger ecosystems like grasslands, rain forests, deserts, fresh water ponds, salt water, etc... but we also have ecosystems all over our body. Our nose, mouth, vaginal, skin, etc.
Imagine a pond. Have you ever seen or smelled a dirty pond or lake, covered in algae, dead fish floating, etc. We can assume something is out of balance just by observing it.
Now imagine a healthy pond or lake. Lots of animals, insects, fish, all living in harmony together. The water is clear, no nasty smells. All is well.
Our gut is not much different. A very well know microbiologist and researcher stated that "We are walking rainforests". What a beautiful illustration!
Why should you want to learn about your gut microbiome?
Mary: Poor microbiome health can be marked by lower bacterial diversity and microbial imbalance, known as dysbiosis. Dysbiosis is an imbalance of good and bad gut bacteria.
An imbalanced gut microbiome has been associated with increased disease risk in many health conditions, including (but not limited to):
inflammatory bowel disease
type 2 diabetes
brain fog (and much more)
Major factors that affect our digestive microbiome include:
stress (can also be affected by microbiome, a two way street)
chemicals on or around us (beauty products/cleaning)
illnesses (ex. covid, microbial exposures, lymes, etc)
Spoiler alert: The gut controls the vast majority of the immune function!
Some tidbits of information
80% of the immune tissues lies in the GUT!
The Health of your microbiome affects your immune system.
Substances that are produced by the microbes in the digestive tract have a DIRECT influence on the brain.
For example, 5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan) is an amino acid that your body naturally produces. Your body uses it to produce serotonin, a chemical messenger (a hormone and neurotransmitter) that sends signals between your nerve cells, controls mood, and many other important functions in the body.
Low serotonin levels are associated with depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, weight gain and other health problems.
Antibiotics and the microbiome.
Antibiotics are life saving and have a time and place. Unfortunately they have been overused and misused.
Studies have shown that for some people it can take UP TO 2 years for the gut microbiome to be restored after taking antibiotics.
Other studies have shown psychosis after antibiotic use - memory loss, and insomnia.
Antibiotics in childhood have been linked with diseases including asthma, juvenile arthritis, type 1 diabetes, Crohn’s disease and mental illness. Scientists believe that these diseases are related to dysbiosis of the gut microbiome.
How do I know if my gut microbiome is doing its job?
A free and easy way to see how your gut microbiome is doing, is by looking at your stool/poop.
this is a general picture and doesn't fully represent all of the colors and smells, but it gives a snapshot of what to mainly look for ...
But the size/shape and color is not the whole picture...
Do you know your transit time?
Mary: So yes, you could be pooping everyday and its a bristol #4.
But we want to know HOW LONG does it take to travel from your mouth (ingestion), through your intestines and out the other end (defecation).
Here is an easy and FREE test (who doesn't like free?) that does just that.
Simply eat a whole corn on the cob, DON'T chew the corn, the only time I will tell you this. (You can also use dark quinoa, sesame seeds if you don't suffer from IBS/ severe gastrointestinal issues).
-Record the day and time eaten.
-Record when items are first seen and last seen.
The ideal transit time is approximately 24 hours, if it is less than 18 hours it may indicate that food is moving too quickly through your digestive tract for nutrients to be properly absorbed.
If your transit time is more than 24-48 hours or if you do not have regular daily bowel movements, this may indicate toxic buildup and/or constipation and a possible sign of dysbiosis.
I can help you, and think about joining my next RESTART group.
How then shall we support the Microbiome?
We want to seed, feed and weed the microbiome.
How do we seed the microbiome?
Hallie: This means that you are going to introduce 'good' bacteria into your system by introducing probiotics, which are actual bacteria themselves, which can be taken as a supplement or consumed in fermented foods which contain good bacteria like yogurt, kefir and kombucha.
Once you have introduce probiotics (the good bacteria) …
Then you want to FEED your gut microbiome.
And you can do this by incorporating prebiotics into your diet which are the fiber and nutrients in your diet that the bacteria eat, and the types of carbohydrates that cannot be digested.
These types of foods pass through your intestines undigested so your good bacteria can feed off them.
Examples include legumes, onion, garlic, asparagus, nuts, seeds, whole grains and skins of fruits and vegetables.
Now on to WEEDING your microbiome.
And FINALLY you are going to WEED (which by the way doesn't require gardening gloves), you can accomplish this by limiting your sugar and junk food intake. It is important to be sure that we are not introducing foods that "bad" bacteria thrives off of.
This step should not be ignored or overlooked.
Just as it is important to include pro & prebiotics into our diet to support BENEFICIAL bacteria, it is just as important that we DO NOT introduce foods that "bad" bacteria thrives off of.
Bad bacteria thrives off of foods that are highly processed such as French fries, pasta, chips, fish crackers, white flour, fast food... the list goes on, and on AND on....
It is also important to avoid excess sugar that can be found in candy, cereals, sweetened juice, cookies, pop-tarts, donuts, fruit snacks, and soda.
And don't be fooled by sugar-free (or diet) foods as they often times contain artificial sweetener, which is just as bad (if not worse) on your microbiome.
To sum it up we need to AVOID a diet that consists of highly processed foods, because they invite the "Yeastie Beasties" into the microbiome where they thrive and cause havoc in a less diverse microbiome that has an overgrowth of bad bacteria.
Avoid creating a YEASTIE BEASTIE playground.
So, just to reiterate, to NURTURE our Microbiome we want to SEED by introducing probiotics, FEED by incorporating prebiotics, and WEED by limiting highly processed and sugary foods.
Do this and you are on your way to a healthy balanced microbiome.
We want to make sure that we have a diverse diet:
diverse diets = diverse gut microbiomes which = a HEALTHIER microbiome.
Make sure you choose a variety of healthy foods; such as leafy vegetables, healthy fats, fermented foods and sprouted grains too keep your microbiome happy.
In addition to eating a diverse diet, eating a diet that consists of high-quality whole foods have been linked with beneficial bacteria and a diverse microbiome that thrives....
Studies have shown that pesticides and other chemicals cause havoc on the microbiome. So choosing organic and non-GMO products only BENEFITS the gut microbiome.
And lastly, getting plenty of fiber in your diet is essential. Ideally, you should get at least 25 grams (or more) of fiber every day.
So, did you feed your gut microbiome?
If your answer is no, FEAR NOT!
It takes only two days to shift it... and... you now know what it takes to support a healthy thriving microbiome.
You know what to feed it, how to check transit time, FOR FREE might I add.
And what to look for.
If after trying these tips, and you are still dealing with symptoms of dysbiosis, or if you just simply want extra support ....then joining my next RESTART class will help, or we can work 1:1 if you prefer direct attention.
Watch (like and follow) our full webinar on the Gut Microbiome & You.
Grab my free and informative guide to get started on your journey. I will show you what it looks like to work with me.
Kiran Krishnan -- The Microbiome's Control of Immune Function
Löfmark, Sonja et al. “Clindamycin-induced enrichment and long-term persistence of resistant Bacteroides spp. and resistance genes.” The Journal of antimicrobial chemotherapy vol. 58,6 (2006): 1160-7. doi:10.1093/jac/dkl420
Mehdi, Shujaath. “Antibiotic-induced psychosis: a link to D-alanine?.” Medical hypotheses vol. 75,6 (2010): 676-7. doi:10.1016/j.mehy.2010.07.021
Lucy McDonnell, et al. (2021) "Association between antibiotics and gut microbiome dysbiosis in children: systematic review and meta-analysis, Gut Microbes", 13:1, DOI: 10.1080/19490976.2020.1870402
Madani, Najm Alsadat, and David O Carpenter. “Effects of Glyphosate and Roundup™ on the mammalian nervous system: A review.” Environmental research, 113933. 19 Jul. 2022, doi:10.1016/j.envres.2022.113933