What Is Your Microbiome?
A lot of people are talking about it right now.
It’s getting a lot of attention — everywhere.
No, we are not talking about the Kardashians or Fortnite.
We are talking about the wonderful world inside your gut — your microbiome!
Here you will find some common terms that you will see when learning about the microbiome.
Microbiome – the world of bacteria that resides in your gut
- Micro- small
- Biome- a habitat that naturally exists to sustain lifeforms
Microbiota – the organisms that inhabit a particular environment
- In your microbiome, these consist of bacteria, fungi, archaea, and other microorganisms
- Bacteria make up the largest portion of your microbiome
Microflora – microscopic organisms like bacteria and algae
Pathogenic – disease causing
Carcinogenic – cancer causing
What Does the Microbiome Do?
A better question would actually be — what DOESN’T the microbiome do?
The microbiome has an effect on pretty much everything in your body.
When you think of your gut, you probably think of gross things and figure it’s mainly just for holding, digesting, and disposing of your food.
Because of the microbiome, your stomach is responsible for so much more than just that.
The bacteria in your gut are like a little army defending your digestive tract.
They do help in the breaking down of your food, but they also help with getting the most nutrients out of the food you eat in the process.
Without your gut bacteria, certain foods wouldn’t be able to be broken down.
Those foods typically supply you with your fiber and short chain fatty acids. You’d be missing out on crucial nutrients without them.
Your gut bacteria are also able to affect your body through the gut-brain axis (GBA). This means your microbiome can actually have a hand in controlling your brain!
Hormones, neurotransmitters and other chemicals are released when your food is broken down by your bacteria. These can alter your health and mood which can help prevent or create mental illnesses.
You really are a product of what you eat!
An Unhealthy Microbiome
So if these gut bacteria are so magical, why do we have diseases and health problems?
Shouldn’t they just fix everything with our food?
What we eat causes the diversity of our bacteria to change. Multiple studies have proven this to be true.
Most of these studies throw Western vs. Rural diets into the ring for a battle. It has shown time and time again that Western-style diets are causing major increases in disease throughout the body.
Some of the diseases that the gut microbiota may play a role in include: (Check out these links to read more of our articles on the microbiome)
- Inflammatory bowel diseases
- Cardiovascular disease
- POTS and other Dysautonomias
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Multiple sclerosis
- Lyme’s Disease
- Colorectal and other cancers
This just names a few of the many diseases that have been found linked to an unhealthy microbiome.
So how exactly are the bacteria good if they have a hand in causing these diseases?
The bacteria in our gut are amazing and incredibly helpful beings — as long as they stay there.
Processed foods create an environment that allows for your bacteria — that should stay in your gut — to escape it’s home. This process is called intestinal permeability (IP).
IP allows for your bacteria to run rampant throughout your body.
IP is kind of like taking a toddler who is normally well behaved at home and allowing them to do as they please once in a toy store.
It’s a new space for them.
They don’t know exactly what all of these new things are, but they are definitely about to try and play!
IP isn’t the only issue when it comes to a bad diet. High-processed diets also lead to malnutrition.
Malnutrition means that your bacteria have to try and figure out what to do with what they’ve been given.
Imagine you’re at work and your boss gives you work to do from a totally unrelated department.
You’re going to do what you know, but you can’t do your job correctly or their job correctly since it isn’t what you’re supposed to be working with.
Your bacteria feel the same way when you throw them trash food to work with.
If you don’t give them what they want, they create a new normal in your body.
It has been shown that when you eat a diet high in fats and low in fiber that your bacterial diversity changes significantly and certain bacteria levels get higher.
When this happens it actually causes you to crave bad foods!
This isn’t making an excuse for you to continue your unhealthy ways and claim victim of your gut bacteria. This is to help you understand just how important what you eat really is.
Treating Your Microbiome Right
Your diet is obviously super important to your gut health. You’ve been told this before — multiple times.
However, this isn’t the only way to have a healthy microbiome.
It actually starts when — and potentially before — you are born.
Studies haven’t been done quite enough to establish how much a mother’s diet affects a baby’s microbiome in utero.
Studies have proven that a mother’s vaginal bacteria changes for birth.
Babies born vaginally as opposed to C-section show different microbial diversity.
C-section babies tend to have bacteria more like the human skin and that of the hospital while babies born vaginally will have a bacterial diversity more similar to the mother’s vagina.
Babies who are breastfed also tend to have a greater diversity in bacteria than those who are fed formula.
By the age of 1, baby microbiomes start resembling an adults microbiome. These first years are critical for the growth of a healthy microbiome.
In some cases, you can’t control the factors leading up to the birth of your child or even how your mom had you. But you do have control over how you take care of your microbiome now.
Taking supplements like Atrantil can help to nourish your microbiome by supplying it with important prebiotics that feed your microbiome exactly what it wants (and needs) to be healthy.
A healthy diet, exercise, and products like Atrantil are sure ways to make sure you have a happy and healthy microbiome and body.