Unless you’re new to my blog, there’s no way you’ve missed my excitement about the importance of your microbiome and gut health.
While it may seem like somebody’s coming out with a new colon cleanse, a gut health reboot, or a fancy new probiotic every week, gut health is a burgeoning field of medical interest and concern that’s here to stay.
That’s because your gut is home to more than 100 trillion microorganisms that do everything from strengthening your immune system and creating your “happy” neurotransmitter like serotonin, to extracting energy from your food.
You have your gut microbiota to thank for so many aspects of your health. Or, if you’re feeling down and out, your lack of good health.
As the Director of NYU Human Microbiome Program, Dr. Martin J. Blaser put it, “It’s reasonable to propose that the composition of the microbiome and its activities are involved in most, if not all, of the biological processes that constitute human health and disease.”
So, let’s dig in again. It all bears repeating.
Seventy percent of your immune systems resides in your gut.
What we eat and how we manage stress and getting adequate asleep all play a role in the health of your gut.
It’s our job to keep our gut lining, although only one cell thick to accommodate the exchange of nutrients and water, as strong as possible. This can prevent bad bugs from escaping, entering your blood stream, circulating through your body and creating inflammation. Chronic inflammation drives disease.
The more diverse our ecosystem of gut bacteria, the stronger our immune system. Cultivating a healthy microbiome means we can reduce our susceptibility to obesity, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ADHD, allergies, heart disease, cancer, depression, and anxiety which can all be linked back to bad gut bacteria run amok.
Those 100 trillion microbiota living within your body make up anywhere between 3-5% of your body weight. That’s pretty significant considering they’re so tiny they’re invisible to the naked eye. Nevertheless, those tiny powerhouses exert an out-sized effect on your overall health.
Here are 14 fascinating things you might not know about your gut microbiome.
1. There are more than bacteria in your gut.
Although your gut microbiome is mostly bacteria, there are also all sorts of other organisms in there. Archaea are an ancient organism that has no cell nucleus and often produce methane. They also have the distinct ability to live in extreme environments, including your acidic gut.
You’ll also find plenty of yeast and other fungi hanging out in there, and possibly parasites too. But perhaps the most fascinating of all are bacteriophages, which are teeny tiny viruses that infect specific bacteria. Since these organisms specifically infect certain bacteria, the hope is that one day they may be used as a targeted ‘antibiotic.’
2. Your genes are outnumbered.
The genes found in your gut microbiome outnumber your human genes 150 to 1. When scientists discovered that human DNA was 99.9% the same, human to human, they were a little perplexed.
It seems the dynamic gut microbiome is potentially capable of contributing to these differences. Your gut microbiome can influence gene expression and biological functions, making humans wonderfully unique.
3. The gut is the epicenter of revolutionary science.
Functional metagenomics goes beyond identifying what’s in there and is working to find out what’s actually going on inside your gut. It can unravel the most important aspect of human health, which interestingly enough, isn’t human at all. You are joining the mission to make chronic illness optional.
4. The microbiome has more biodiversity than a rainforest.
When we imagine a vibrant ecosystem with many different species of plants and animals, we usually think of the Amazon rainforest. But the Amazon pales in comparison to your gut microbiota, which is far more diverse.
5. You’re just like your mother.
Even though humans are 99.9% similar in their DNA, you’re very different when it comes to your gut microbiome.
While your gut microbiome will look very different compared to someone you pass on the street, it will look most similar to your mother’s gut, followed by your siblings.
6. The “bad guys” that aren’t all bad.
We were too quick to label certain bacteria like E. coli “bad guys.” Only to find out that we actually need them on some levels and in some locations within our gut. E. coli actually helps stimulate regeneration of the gut lining, making the digestive tract healthier.
The underlying conclusion of gut microbiome research is that it’s all about balance.
7. It’s more like an organ.
Scientists are hesitant to call the gut microbiome an organ because it consists of microbial species that are not of human origin. When you’re imagining the gut microbiome, it helps to think of it as an organ because it plays critical roles throughout your body.
It’s a key player in your nervous system, immune system, and endocrine system – it’s like a mega-organ!
8. Your gut isn’t the same one you were born with.
In fact, you weren’t born with much of a gut microbiome at all. Over the first seven years of your life, you developed your microbiome which was impacted by how you were born (c-section versus vaginal delivery), where you lived, the food you ate, and much more.
These experiences built the foundation of your microbiome and influenced how your gut microbiota looks today. However, while your gut microbiota changes throughout your life, it does keep a sort of “microbial fingerprint.”
9. Your gut microbiome is like your second brain.
The gut microbiome is called your second brain because it affects your mood, happiness, motivation, and even can contribute to suboptimal neurological performance later in life. Your microbes actually produce about 90% of serotonin, your “happiness” neurotransmitter.
Along what’s called the vagus nerve, the bacteria in your gut are in constant communication with your brain and influencing your behavior. While this might sound like microscopic aliens are taking over your mind, the good news is you have a lot of influence over them through what you eat.
10. Antibiotics create a warzone.
Antibiotics are like a nuclear bomb for your microbiota and can quickly change its composition, potentially leading to dysbiosis (an imbalance in the gut microorganisms). This can have both short and long-term effects on your health since the microbiome is critical in many physiological processes, including regulation of metabolism and immunity.
Antibiotics cause sweeping changes to your microbial ecosystem.
11. Your gut is surprisingly resilient.
Even though antibiotics aren’t great for your gut microbiome if you must use them, you’ll be happy to hear your microbes can be remarkably resilient. If you take good care of your gut by eating the right foods, which you will learn a lot more about in my weight loss program, you can boost the beneficial bacteria and work to restore balance.
Your gut microbiome is pretty strong and can potentially bounce back from something as catastrophic as antibiotics – but it will need help.
12. Your microbiome can predict if you’re overweight or lean.
Looking at the composition of your gut microbiome, researchers can tell with 90% accuracy whether you’re overweight or lean. This has fascinating implications because we know that the microbiome is essential to metabolism through harvesting and storing energy.
Though the connection hasn’t yet been made about whether or not certain microbes can actually make you fat, there is an interesting correlation between metabolic health and certain bacteria.
13. Harvests energy from food.
How healthy your microbes are affects how well your body extracts energy and nutrients from the food you eat.
A healthy gut is associated with a healthy metabolism.
So when it comes to losing weight, you should eat to feed these trillions of bacteria.
14. It’s shrinking
.As a whole, the Western world is losing diversity in their gut microbiome. Things like antibiotic use, spending so much time indoors, and moving into cities have contributed to this loss in biodiversity.
This is concerning as we’re only just beginning to understand how vital these microorganisms are. It could be that we’re losing certain species we didn’t know were critical.
The care and feeding of your microbiome can make weight loss easier.
Let’s create a plan unique for you that nourishes your microbiome. It’s one of the most important steps you can take to make weight loss easier. The food you eat is a major factor in strengthening your gut health, whatever it’s condition today.
So, please take me up on my offer for your FREE Strategy Call. Then you can see for yourself how it’s possible to jump start weight loss by intentionally training your focus on what matters most.
This exploration can help you reach your weight loss goals with a lot less stress and drama.
It’s totally possible to make 2022 your year to create the healthiest you. No matter your age, stage or past disappointments.
Jump start your fresh start. A year from now you will thank yourself you reached out to me today.
I’m looking forward to meeting you soon.
It’s Never Too Late to make your weight loss journey easier. Let’s go!
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