The Importance of the Gut Microbiome

Dr. Tanya Hudson
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Like I have written in previous blogs: Your gut health is truly at the CENTER of your whole health!

2500 years ago, Hippacrates said, “All Disease Begins in the Gut” and he was right.

What do I mean by “gut health?” 

Creating a diverse and abundant gut microbiota, while optimizing digestion.

What is the difference between the gut microbiota and the gut microbiome?

Gut microbiota = the population of microorganisms (so bacteria, viruses, fungi) that inhabit the gastrointestinal tract.

Gut microbiome = ALL the microorganism AND their genetic material found within (and on) the human body.

Why should we care about this? 

Because the following diseases have been associated with impaired microbiome health:

  • Atherosclerosis = The build-up of fats, cholesterol, and other substances in and on the artery walls
  • Eczema
  • Celiac disease
  • Inflammation
  • Hypertension
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
  • Insulin resistance
  • Obesity
  • Type 2 Diabetes

Cool facts about the gut microbiota:

  • There are more than 1000 species of bacteria in your gut (and up to 100 trillion microorganisms), weighing as much as 2-5 lbs (or the weight of your brain!) and over 140,000 friendly viruses.
  • The gut microbiome functions as an extra organ in your body.
  • As we age, the bacterial diversity decreases.
  • The gut microbiome influences your mental/emotional health and your ability to think, reason, and remember events.  Welcome to the gut-brain axis!
  • The primary cause of chronic inflammation may be due to low bacterial diversity and disruption of the gut-brain axis.
  • Only 24 hours after changing your diet, you can change the types of bacteria in your gut. 
  • Bacteria in the gut influence the permeability of your intestinal lining.  A leaky gut can contribute to heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and inflammatory bowel diseases.
  • There are certain bacteria in the gut that influence estrogen metabolism. 
  • Your gut microbiome starts to develop on your “birth day,” as you pass through the birth canal (and possibly while in the womb).  As we grow and get exposed to different environments and foods, our gut microbiome starts to diversify.

What disturbs the gut microbiome?

  • Sleep deprivation
  • Antibiotics–even one course can change your gut microbiome for up to one year 
  • PPIs (Prilosec, Prevacid, Nexium, Protonix) 
  • Anti-depressants
  • The foods we eat
  • Exposure to environmental toxins
  • Age
  • Genetics
  • Stress
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • GMO foods—corn, soy, sugar beets, cotton, canola, papaya, alfalfa, potato, zucchini and yellow summer squash

The “Revitalize and THRIVE” program is designed to diversify the bacteria within your gut, reduce inflammation, improve digestion, and reset your metabolism.  Interested? Join the waitlist for future sessions and get notified when program registration opens.

Quick tip to get you started:  Focus on eating PLANTS each day and aim for at least 30 varieties a week to create that beautiful diversity!