Feeding our Microbiome
You may be aware that you have possibly 10X more microbes in your gut that you have cells in your body and that they can weigh up to 2 kgs. We each may have up to 170 species, but the species can vary considerably, although a few key ones tend to predominate.
Did you know that ever single person has a unique composition of gut microbes- as unique as your fingeprint?
In the last 5 years, the research around gut health and probiotics and microbes, has exploded, and it takes a lot to keep up with it. I recently did a workshop with Dr Jason Hawrelak who is a Naturopath who did his PhD on gut microbes, and I find this topic fascinating.
Researchers are now realising that the widespread use of antibiotics, along with the western diet, have both contributed to devastation of our inner ecosystems. This is having far reaching health and psychological impacts that scientists are are only just beginning to grasp. We are just learning what the loss of key species and the imbalances in our gut flora, actually means.
Our gut bacteria:
- help us digest food
- prevent attack by unfriendly microorganisms
- synthesise some vitamins like B & K
- facilitate absorption of minerals
- neutralise toxins
- play an important role in the immune system
- play an important role in mental health and mood
Imbalances in our gut flora can lead to conditions such as:
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Autoimmune conditions
- Allergy, asthma, diabetes
- Obesity and metabolic syndrome
- Liver diseases
- Systemic infections
- Depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions
Having a wide variety of friendly microbes leads to a certain resilience against bad health and also pathogenic microbes. Whether we were born vaginally or by caesarian, breastfed or bottle fed, has a huge impact on the types of microbes that grow in us for the rest of our life! What we eat every day also determines the balance and variety of microbes in our gut. When we travel, especially to third world countries, we may pick up new bacteria. When we change our diet, our microbes change. When we eat a variety of foods that our microbes love, they thrive, leading to resilience, health and wellbeing, on every level.