Gut and the Microbiome
Why is gut health such a hot topic?
To quote well known gastroenterologist Dr Alessio Fasano. “The gut is not Vegas, what happens in the gut, does not stay in the gut”.
For a long time we have been aware that gut health and systemic health are not mutually exclusive. Clinically we so often see the benefit of approaching complex health conditions by restoring gut function.
What is the Gut microbiota/microbiome?
Bacteria, viruses, fungi and other microorganisms (microbes) live in and on your body. There are trillions of these microbes. The microbes that live in your intestines are referred to as your gut microbiota. The genetic material from these microbes is known as your microbiome.
While some bacteria are associated with disease states, many others are actually very important for your immune system, your heart, controlling your weight , your mood and many other aspects of your health.
Diversity in your microbiota is considered good for your health. And interestingly, the food you eat and the diversity of your food, affects the diversity of your microbiota.
The role of the microbiota is varied. From the early days it helps to digest breast milk, then fibres as we introduce foods. Interestingly, one of the components of breast milk has been found to specifically feed the microbiota more so that the baby. It has a role in the maturation of the immune system, and how it responds to infections and allergens. The microbes also make compounds which help keep keep the cells of the gastrointestinal tract healthy. Newer research even suggests that the microbiota may also affect the central nervous system, which is the link between the brain and body.
At Kind Health we are passionate about the gut and how you can improve your microbiota. Strategies such as eating a diverse range of foods including plant based fibres and prebiotics (fuel for the microbes), and restoring upper digestive function is often a great place to start. We believe a great functioning gut is so important to your overall health and strongly suggest that you seek ongoing support if basic strategies are not enough.