The Gut Microbiome: the most important organ you’ve never heard of

You may have heard you should be eating more yogurt and drinking kombucha to get more probiotics in your diet. That this is good for the bacteria in your gut. But the actual reasoning behind this is to support an organ that you may not even realize you have — your gut microbiome. Your gut microbiome might be the most important organ you have as it affects literally every other reaction in your body. The Gut Microbiome

So why don’t you know more about this organ? And why didn’t they bring it up in middle school health class with the rest of your organs? 

Most of the research on your gut microbiome has been done within the last few decades so it hasn’t really hit textbooks yet. But that doesn’t make it any less important. In this article, we are going to cover A-Z  of the gut microbiome. So get ready to learn the best way you can support your health by unmasking your most important organ.

What is the gut microbiome?

Now, the gut microbiome isn’t shaped like the rest of your organs. It doesn’t have a specific look to it that you know it as soon as you see it like your heart, lungs, brain, or liver. When we hear (or read) those words an image of what that organ looks like pops into our head. This likely won’t happen with the gut microbiome as it’s actually a collection of microorganisms that live within your intestinal tract. 

It doesn’t have a shape or movement that we are accustomed to and it is as unique to each person as their fingerprint. Which is really cool! But, that also makes it a little more difficult to understand. Since research started several decades ago we have amassed a lot of really helpful information about the gut microbiome. 

So here is what we know. 

There are trillions (literally trillions) of little living organisms that work together to support the organ that is our microbiome. The microorganisms include bacteria, protozoa, archaea, fungi, and others

The microorganisms work together as a team with our cells to keep our bodies healthy. 

The strains can react differently in the body depending on your lifestyle choices. So the strains aren’t “healthy” or “unhealthy” they’re just there. And depending on what you feed them, they will give you healthy benefits or unhealthy problems. 

The gut bugs take foods we normally wouldn’t be able to process and they ferment them. This feeds the bacteria and allows them to reproduce more strains (healthy or otherwise depending on what it was eating). This also creates byproducts that can improve (or harm) our health like short-chain fatty acids, vitamins, gases, and others

The health of our gut microbiome determines the health of the rest of our bodily systems and organs — and vice versa. 

Why is the gut microbiome important?

Though our knowledge of the microbiome is in its infancy, the microbiome itself is ancient and therefore has profound impacts that we don’t really think about. We really only notice bacteria when we become sick from them. However, much of our good health is based upon the health of our gut microbiome.

The gut microbiome influences every aspect of our health which makes it extremely important. When your microbiome is healthy it will lead to many health benefits. To name a few of the reasons why the gut microbiome is important to our health:

    • Helps to maintain the health of your other organs
      • Brain health (cognitive function, healthy synapses, the release of neurochemicals and neurotransmitters, mental disorder control, etc.)
      • Cardiovascular health (protecting the lining of veins and heart, reducing the risk of CVD, etc.)
      • Gastrointestinal health — this one might be obvious because your gut microbes reside in the GI tract, but the microbiome actually helps to maintain the integrity of the intestinal lining and keep the flow of digestion moving at a healthy pace
      • Hormonal balances
    • Provides the nutrients from the food that we normally wouldn’t be able to access — the gut microbes ferment fiber, polyphenols, prebiotics, and carbs to break them down into molecules we wouldn’t be able to access without the fermentation process
    • Controls metabolic processes and the resulting byproducts (SCFA, gases, etc.)
    • Improves energy by affecting cellular health
    • Prevents diseases by reducing oxidative stress and removing reactive oxygen species (ROS)
  • Reducing inflammation and boosting your immune health
  • Helps control blood sugar and can help to prevent diabetes and insulin resistance 

Now, if your microbiome is unhealthy it can contribute to a polar opposite reaction and all of the positive health effects listed above will actually affect you negatively instead. So (as an example) instead of removing ROS your microbiome will be promoting the growth of these species rather than removing them. 

So with your gut microbiome being able to promote or prevent disease development, how can we make sure that our microbiomes are on the healthiest track possible?

How can you make sure you have a healthy gut microbiome?

You might think this will be difficult considering testing for the gut microbiome is somewhat complicated. But truthfully, it isn’t difficult at all to ensure you’re hosting healthy gut bugs rather than dangerous ones. 

Focus on having good general health. Everything we’ve been told since we are little kids about maintaining good health will actually promote a healthy gut microdiversity. 

  1. Feed the microbes what they really want. Your gut microbes LOVE things they can ferment. Eating foods with fiber, healthy carbs, healthy fats, polyphenols, and prebiotics are exactly what they want to eat. And when you eat these foods they give you the love right back. These foods help the gut microbes to create more healthy strains of bacteria and enrich the helpful microbes already living there. 
    1. Atrantil is a great source of prebiotics, polyphenols, and postbiotics that your gut microbes enjoy munching on. You’ll be nourishing your microbes and promoting your health when taking it daily.
  2. Sleep well. Your sleep-wake cycle has serious effects on your microbes. So sleeping well and for the 7-8 hours recommended will help them to do their job while your body is resting. Giving the microbes time to digest the food you’ve given them allows them to rest too. This is why fasting is beneficial for your health. It sort of lets them rest and reset to be ready for more healthy foods. 
  3. Exercise regularly. The microbiomes of people who exercise for 30 minutes 3-5 times a week are significantly healthier than those who are sedentary. They actually have a distinct microbial profile that promotes health and allows their body to recover and digest easier! So go for a walk, try a yoga class, or hit the gym and your gut bacteria will thank you.
  4. Manage stress levels. Stress is no good for anything but especially the gut microbiome. Stress can affect the microbiome so that it decreases your mental health and leads to anxiety and depression. So keep your stress levels low by practicing gratitude, doing yoga or meditations, and doing things that just generally make you happy/distract you from stress.

Do these things and you’ll have a healthy gut microbiome and you’ll reap the many benefits it has to offer! 


Got questions? Drop them in the comments below so we can help you further understand the gut microbiome and all of its wonder!