This is for you my brave-hearted science geeks! Since the condition of our gut microbiome affects weight loss, it’s worth learning some easy strategies to nurture it’s good health.
You probably haven’t given it too much thought because it’s only since the late 1990s that researchers recognized its existence and functions.
But since then, research has revealed that this mysterious world of microbes, which includes bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoa and many other teeny weeny organisms, plays an important role keeping us alive and thriving.
Although invisible to the naked eye, they shoulder the HUGE responsibility of digesting our food, extracting nourishment and regulating our immune systems. They protect against other disease causing bacteria and produce vitamins including B vitamins, thiamine and riboflavin, and Vitamin K, which is needed for blood clotting.
Your microbes are at work 24/7.
Suffice it to say “If your gut microbiome ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!”
So let’s get more familiar with this miraculous world of microscopic goodness that, in its totality, weighs about 5 pounds, even more than that precious 3 pound brain of yours!
Some basics about your gut microbiome.
Your gut microbiome consists of all the microorganisms which live inside your digestive tract. Your digestive tract is comprised of organs that food and liquids travel through when they are swallowed, digested, absorbed and leave the body as feces. These organs include the mouth, throat, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, rectum, and anus.
They are populated by trillions and trillions of bacteria and fungi. These microbes vastly outnumber all the human cells in the body by a factor of 10 to 1.
Crazy as it sounds, we are more microbes than we are human. Over 100 trillion microbes make up the human body. Think about the implications of that for more than a minute or two.
These microbes proliferate inside us thanks to what we eat, inhale, touch and absorb from our entire environment. Everything we do, both indoors and outside, introduces thousands of microorganisms into our bodies.
Those living in your digestive tract are generally friendly. They live in a harmonious symbiotic relationship with each other and with you. They are necessary for our survival. But when bad ones overrun the good ones and crowd them out, diseases can proliferate.
Researchers believe that what matters most is the diversity of good bacteria in your digestive tract.
The quality of your gut microbiome affects your weight, according to researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH):
The ecology of the gut microbiome has been connected with weight in animal studies. Low bacterial richness has been linked with higher body mass index in humans, and bacterial richness with lower body mass index. Low diversity of fecal bacteria was recently connected specifically with visceral fat in human twin studies; with visceral fat being linked with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
Gut bacteria have been hypothesized to influence weight by signalling satiety to the brain in animal studies and by influencing caloric extraction from food . The microbiota of obese youths have, for example, been shown to be more efficient at oxidizing carbohydrates into storable fat than those of lean youths.
Disruption of the gut microbiome leads to an environment ripe for disease.
Gut dysbiosis is a result of an imbalance of your gut microbes.
Autoimmune diseases such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, and fibromyalgia are associated with dysfunction in the microbiome. Disease-causing microbes accumulate over time and over-ride your immune system.
They change gene activity and metabolic processes resulting in an abnormal immune response against substances and tissues normally present in the body. Research indicates that autoimmune diseases may be passed on in families not by DNA but by inheriting the family’s microbiome.
Improve the health of your gut microbiome to keep dangerous microbes under control.
Here are 10 life style changes to improve your gut health.
- Take a probiotic supplement
- Add fermented foods and vegetables like sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, tempeh, kefir and kombucha to your diet
- Eat prebiotic foods like asparagus, garlic, onions, bananas, and pineapple
- Eat less sugar and artificial sweeteners. Use of artificial sweeteners can negatively impact blood glucose levels due to their effects on gut microbes. This means that artificial sweeteners may increase blood sugar despite not actually being a sugar.
- Manage stress. Animal studies suggest that psychological stressors can disrupt the microorganisms in the intestines, even if the stress is only short-lived. Stress management techniques include meditation, deep breathing exercises, and progressive muscle relaxation. Exercising regularly, sleeping well, and eating a whole foods diet can also reduce stress levels.
- Avoid taking antibiotics unnecessarily. Although it is often necessary to take antibiotics to combat bacterial infections, overuse can lead to antibiotic resistance. Antibiotics are also damaging to the gut microbiome and immunity, with some research reporting that even 6 months after their use, the gut still lacks several species of beneficial bacteria.
- Try to get at least 7 hours of sleep a night. A 2014 animal study indicated that irregular sleep habits and disturbed sleep can have negative outcomes for gut microbes, which may increase the risk of inflammatory conditions.
- Stop eating the same foods over and over again. Be sure you are varying your diet, especially meats and vegetables. Each new food improves the quality of beneficial bacteria in your gut.
- Strive to eat from all the colors of the rainbow each day as you choose your fruits and vegetables.
- Avoid genetically modified foods. Their seeds were modified to withstand the harsh herbicides sprayed on them to prevent weeds and insect destruction. Specifically, GMOs are made to withstand glyphosate, more commonly known as Roundup, which contributes to dysbiosis in your microbiome.
Maximize the health of your gut microbiome to make weight loss easier.
I’m ready to teach you next steps to ensure that your gut microbiome is as healthy as it can be.
It’s not just knowing what to do and eat, but implementing it by creating a sustainable and realistic plan. One that you can follow for the long term.
Let me know you’re ready to succeed in your weight loss journey right here. It’s time we discussed what’s possible for you.
If someone you know could benefit from reading this message today, please share.