As you go about your daily life, you're probably not thinking about the trillions of microscopic organisms living inside you. Frankly, it's strange to consider. But when it comes to your health, these microorganisms — which even outnumber the human cells that contain your DNA — play a vital role in your overall well-being.
As you work hard to stay healthy, the army of organisms in your gut can help. Your gut includes your stomach and intestines, where food passes through and is broken down. Ensuring you have the right balance of organisms that promote a healthy gut environment is essential for our health.
Your gut consists of a collection of bacteria, yeast, viruses and other tiny organisms called microorganisms, or microbes. Together, they comprise your microbiome, which acts almost as its own ecosystem. These microorganisms are present from birth, and you may gain or lose hundreds of species throughout your life. A healthy microbiome is home to the both the optimal type and level of each microorganism that work together -- and with you -- to thrive.
Each microorganism plays a different, important role in digestion. Generally, they break down the food you eat into usable pieces and help you absorb and process essential nutrients to keep your body running optimally.
When you're born, your microbiome starts populating based on your mother's microbes. From there, what you eat or get exposed to determines what types of bacteria are in your gut. Certain foods can add new species to your microbiome, and you may lose some if you take certain medications such as an antibiotic, which can't distinguish between the "bad" bacteria causing an infection and your gut's "good" bacteria.
Having a diverse set of microorganisms is key to how well your gut's microbiome functions. When some species of microbes increase and others die off, your gut's diversity is affected and may result in an imbalance. This imbalance is called dysbiosis.
Scientists have studied thousands of strains of microbes to learn their functions and role in our health. A wealth of research has shown that people with certain health challenges tend to have less diversity in their gut microbiome. Though further research is needed, it seems that an imbalance — too few of some microbes, an overgrowth of others or both — may create some unpleasant side effects, including:
Plus many other problems that have an impact on your daily life.
There is ongoing research into the gut microbiome; to how and why these tiny organisms affect so much of your body. One explanation may be that dysbiosis can lead to systemic inflammation, which is a contributing factor to many chronic health conditions. The gut is also home to 70% - 80% of your immune system - they go hand in hand in your ability to stay healthy.
Improving the balance of species within your gut microbiome is in your control. The substances you're exposed to and everything you ingest have the greatest influence on which microbes flourish and which don't. Here are two ways you can support a diverse and balanced microbiome.
First, it's essential to eat a wide range of natural foods. Choose fruits, vegetables, plant or animal based protein, whole grains, nuts, seeds and any other whole foods available. You could also include natural probiotic foods, like kimchi and sauerkraut, which contain live strains of beneficial bacteria. Dietary fiber and prebiotics found in plant foods can help the good strains to grow, while artificial sweeteners and food additives found in many processed foods can increase unhealthier strains of bacteria and lead to gut dysbiosis.
Second, if you're experiencing ongoing issues like gas, bloating, mood irregularities or low immunity; it is often a sign of an underlying gut imbalance. Running a simple at-home lab test that takes a comprehensive look at your digestive function, energy and mood metabolites, as well whether you're absorbing the essential nutrients you need from your diet will provide accelerated insight into the diet and lifestyle approach that's right for you to rebalance your body and your health.
Want to fast track your knowledge about how your gut & digestion can become imbalanced and the exact steps you need to take to get well? Now you can -- take your health into your hands and enrol in Dr Cabral's Gut & Digestion Health Results Accelerator™ Course.