Have you heard the saying “You are what you eat?”
To some extent that’s true, however, the latest research points more towards “You are what your gut bacteria are”.
We have more bacteria in our body than we do human cells! This colony of bacteria, known as the microbiome, or gut flora, is now understood to play a very important role in a wide array of health conditions from autoimmunity, obesity, depression and anxiety, to gut disorders such as allergies, constipation, diarrhoea, IBS, and SIBO. For example we know now that if you have more of the bacteria Firmicutes, you are more likely to struggle to lose weight, thats because this bacteria slows metabolism.
The research on some species of this bacteria shows us that they can cause symptoms when the balance of the microbiome is incorrect.
Symptoms such as bloating, indigestion, fatigue, headaches, eczema, sinus, bad breath, skin reactions, gas, brain fog, inability to lose weight and more, can all be attributed to the gut bacteria living out of balance or from having too much of the wrong types of bacteria. Even extremely devastating conditions such as Chrohn’s disease, colitis and autoimmune diseases may be improved by balancing your gut bacteria.
If we want to really simplify things, we have “good” bacteria and “bad” bacteria and how large the populations get of any of the different families makes a difference to the overall harmony of the microbiome. For example, a good bacteria species can affect us in negative ways if it has taken and wiped out other species. Some “bad” guys are useful in very small groups, but again, if they get too large, the balance gets messed up!
Gut bacteria influence the way our nutrients get digested. Many of our immune functions are synthesised in the gut and are regulated by the gut bacteria. Cells lining the digestive tract produce the neurotransmitter serotonin, which helps us feel happy. Gut bacteria can interact with the nervous system to alter the production of serotonin, directly influencing mental health. 90% of your serotonin is made in the gut!
Many gut bacteria stimulate the brain through the vagus nerve and impact sleep, stress response, digestion and neurological conditions. By utilising tools to alter the gut bacteria, we can impact a wide range of health conditions.
The foods we eat can impact the microbiome dramatically by encouraging or inhibiting the growth of specific bacteria families. By changing your diet, you can therapeutically alter your gut microbiome!
Perhaps you’ve tried diets in the past that were supposed to help your symptoms and you’ve had little or no relief. You may have taken herbs or supplements before and just felt something was missing in getting your health back to balance. Getting your bowel flora more balanced can take as little as 3 months, if you have severe dysfunction the journey may be longer but the important point is it CAN be changed.