Health

Understanding your gut microbiome

what is the gut microbiome?

Now labelled as an organ due to its key roles in the body, the microbiome is home to trillions of microorganisms. Most of these microorganisms live within an area of the large intestine, also referred to as the gut microbiome.

The microbiome consists of both helpful and harmful microbes, most which are symbiotic (both the body and microbiota benefit) but a small percentage of the microbes are pathogenic (those of which promote disease).

If you have a healthy body, both symbiotic and pathogenic microbiota can exist within the microbiome without any issues; however, if you suffer from any illness, have a bad diet or use antibiotics for too long, your body may produce more pathogenic microbes.

There are approximately 40 trillion bacterial cells in your body versus only 30 trillion human cells in the body, meaning that you are actually more bacteria than you are human!

How can the microbiome affect you?

As you get older, your microbiome begins to diversify which means that it’s starting to contain multiple types of microbes. The more diverse your microbiome, the better it’s considered to be for your health.

Your gut microbiome communicates with your cells, controlling how your body could respond to infection. There’s also a two way communication called the gut-brain axis. This is how the gut and the brain interact with one another via your nervous system. The gut affects the nervous central system which controls your brain function.

how can the gut benefit the rest of the body?

How you treat your gut can have a big impact on your body in multiple ways. There are thousands of different types of bacteria in your intestines and having too many of the unhealthy types can lead to disease. An imbalance of unhealthy to healthy microbes is called ‘gut dybiosis’, which can lead towards weight gain.

If you feel that you may be suffering with gut dysbiosis, try introducing more probiotics (such as Willy’s Organic Probiotic Apple Cider Vinegar) into your diet. Probiotics may not only help restore your gut health but can also help with encouraging weight loss.

How the microbiome can affect your gut health

If you suffer from intestinal diseases such as:

– Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

– Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)

This may be due to gut dysbiosis. As a result of the microbes producing lots of gas, this can cause bloating, cramps and pains in your abdomen- common symptoms of IBS.

To help treat these symptoms, consider introducing healthy bacteria into your diet. Found in both probiotics and yoghurt, lactobacilli and bifidobacteria can help to prevent leaky gut syndrome.

What is leaky gut syndrome?

There are small gaps in your intestinal wall which are called tight junctions. These tight junctions allow nutrients and water to pass through whilst blocking any harmful substances from coming through. However, these tight junctions can sometimes become loose, making the gut more permeable. When this happens, bacteria and toxins may be able to pass from the gut and into the bloodstream- also known as ‘leaky gut’.

How can you improve your gut microbiome?

To improve your microbiome, you can:

Consume a diverse range of foods. Try having a fibre rich diet, including lots of fruits and beans.

Incorporate fermented foods into your meals. By having yoghurt, sauerkraut and apple cider vinegar in your diet you may reduce the amount of disease- causing microbes in your gut.

– Reduce the amount of artificial sweeteners you’re consuming. Having sweeteners like aspartame can increase your blood sugar, encouraging the growth of unhealthy bacterias in the microbiome.

Eat polyphenol rich foods. These plant compounds are found in green tea, dark chocolate and whole grains.

Avoid antibiotics unless necessary. Antibiotics are known for killing both good and bad bacteria in the microbiome, which may lead to weight gain.


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