Every so often, something comes along which is a game changer. We are talking sliced bread, the wheel, salt and vinegar chips. Things that come along and blow us all away. For me, the importance of your gut was one such game changer. If you know, you know. But if you don’t strap yourself in, this gets wild.
As much as you have tried to avoid them your entire life, your body is chock full of fungi, bacteria and viruses, roughly a trillion, give or take. In fact, there are more bacterial cells in your body than there are human cells. Before you go ingesting bleach (please don’t), not all of these are bad for you. In fact some of them are responsible for keeping you healthy and happy. Scientists use the term ‘microbiome’ to describe the delicate balance within your body. The more diverse your biodome is, the healthier you are likely to be. Here are some of the benefits of a healthy and diverse gut microbiome.
It affects your weight. If you end up with an improper balance of healthy and unhealthy microbes, you can end up with a condition called gut dysbiosis which leads you to stack the kilos on. Scientists compared two identical twins. One was obese and the other was a healthy weight. It made little sense, given that they were genetically identical. The only variable? The make up of their microbiome. This can be quite dispiriting, but stay with me. The scientists then took the microbiomes from each twin and inserted them into two different mice. The mouse that received from the obese twin gained twice as much weight as the other mouse, despite eating the same amount of food. Heartbreaking. But in some ways it shows you the importance of getting the balance right in your gut. A probiotic like inner health plus can help tune that balance perfectly.
It also affects your gut health. Consider the pain and embarrassment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome or the consequences of Inflammatory Bowel Disease. When the balance of good bacteria to bad bacteria is off, it can produce a lot of gas in your stomach, as well as a whole host of other chemicals which bring on bloating and cramps. You can combat this pretty quickly though. Aside from the probiotics you find in Inner Health Plus, you can ingest Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli in yoghurt. These help to fill the gaps between intestinal cells which soothes the pressure cooker which is your stomach.
It affects your heart! And this is one of those organs that really makes or breaks your overall health. A study of 1500 people has established a link between a healthy gut biome and the rise of good cholesterol and triglycerides. In fact, one of the good bacteria (Lactobacilli) can reduce cholesterol when taken as a probiotic - you can begin to see why I am such a fan of Inner Health Plus now! It promotes a healthy biome, which makes for a healthy heart. On the flip side, an unhealthy biome produces a little blighter called trimethylamine N-oxide which contributes to heart disease. It contributes to the blocking of your arteries which will inevitable increase your risk of stroke or heart attack.
It affects your blood sugar. A wildly fluctuating blood sugar level is just a hop skip and a jump away from diabetes. One study looked at young children who had a number of genetic factors that gave them a high risk of developing type 1 diabetes. The researchers found that just before the child would be diagnosed with the disease, their microbiome would suddenly become much less diverse, and what was left was predominantly unhealthy bacteria. Managing our microbiomes could delay or quell entirely the risk of picking the disease. Interestingly, two people can eat the exact same foods, and yet their blood sugar levels can differ significantly. I think you know where I am going with this. The gut microbiome keeps things in check, more than you could ever know.
It affects your mood. This is where things get whacky. Scientists sometimes refer to the gut as your second brain because of how much it affects your cognitive function. The two are connected through millions of nerves. Specific bacterial species help to produce neurotransmitters in your brain which can have antidepressant qualities. Ever heard of serotonin? The chemical messenger in your brain which acts as a mood stabiliser? The one that is linked to feeling good, and living longer? That is produced almost entirely in your gut. You can see why the balance is super important. Studies have shown that people who have a range of psychiatric disorders have vastly different kinds and bacterial balances in their gut when compared to people who do not suffer from mental illness. Again, probiotics have been shown to have a positive impact here. Do you feel a bit low sometimes? It is entirely possible that your gut microbiome is not as diverse as it needs to be.
So what can you do?
- Eat diverse meals. This will directly influence the diversity of bacteria found in your microbiome. This is especially true if you are getting a lot legumes, beans and fibre rich fruit
- Go fermented. Aim for things like yoghurt, kombucha, sauerkraut. These contain many of the good bacteria needed to get that balance just right.
- Cut the fake sugar. These stimulate the growth of unhealthy bacteria in your gut. Anything that is marketed as sugar free is probably not your friend.
- Look for a probiotic. As I’ve said so many times, Inner Health Plus contains live probiotics that reseed your gut with the healthy bacteria you might be lacking in your diet.
- Avoid antibiotics. I know, you love them. But they are like dropping an atomic bomb on your gut.
Ultimately, you need to pay attention to your gut. Getting this balance right could be the difference between living a happy healthy life, or the bleak alternative.
Trust your gut!
Floyd - Senior Pharmacist