Part of improving your gut and brain health will be to limit Dysbiosis – that is the imbalance of your gut biome – gut bacteria – microbiota.
These are a collection of microorganisms and microbes that live in and on your body.
There are many factors that affect an efficient microbiome – stress, types of food, drugs, alcohol, exercise and movement, mental status, existing illness/conditions, to name just a few.
These bacteria are stored in the oral cavity, respiratory tract, gastrointestinal and Genito-urinal tract (basically mouth to anus pathway) and also the skin.
Your microbiota are constantly changing, developing, being made, lost and replenished.
There is thought to be up to 1.5kg weight of microbiota at any one time within the intestines, so it’s pretty substantial!
Without an effective microbiota it is thought that we would die within 5 years of birth!
Having an effective/efficient microbiota helps to protects us;
From disease and fight infection,
To regulate and balance the immune system,
help with metabolic functions and reduction of toxicity,
From reduction of IBS symptoms,
reduce LDL cholesterol and CHD,
Improve moods and increase serotonin production. Serotonin helps with effective neural messaging and is linked to wellbeing and happiness but is also linked with digestion, hunger, memory, sleep and social factors.
Whilst still being studied there are clear links with cognitive function & memory improvement and brain processing.
The gut and brain have a clear axis link (often referred to as the second brain) which communicate with each other, and each one can effect the other.
So poor mental status can effect biome and conversely poor biome can cause depression and related disease.
There is clear positive evidence of an improved microbiota from those born with a vaginal birth and having been breastfed, alongside huge benefits for pregnant mums taking probiotics.
Early stage (first few months) is critical is setting up the lifelong biome framework.
So whilst we can improve our microbiota throughout our life, the early stages create an critical template to work from.
Taking Probiotics are a way of boosting your good bacteria. They are basically isolated cultures grown to replenish those lost.
Whilst you can eat foods to replenish, rather than use supplements, it can be harder to get the amount and variation without.
When eating for Gut biom it’s best to eat varied foods to create a varied biom. If you eat too much of the same foods, it can feed the same bacteria.
One seminar suggested eating pickled, or fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, but also including yoghurt cultures.
As much as half of fecal waste is gut bacteria and not just food waste. So this is why it’s critical to keep eating the right foods and supplementing, as you are losing bacteria daily. It empowers the saying ‘you are what you eat.’
Interestingly one of the most prominent disrupters of the microbiom are antibiotics. So if you take these regularly they can have devastating effects, as they attack and minimize your good gut bacteria. Post taking a course of antibiotics is a perfect time to take probiotics then, if you are not already.
It was strongly suggested to always take probiotics with food, as the stomach acids attack and kill the good bacteria too easily, if not.
Much more to come in this fascinating area!
More next week,