Should You Test Your Microbiome
Im dubious that spanners can learn a whole lot from these tests.
Plus, the recommendations that they give youlike eat more vegetablesborder on the obvious. Viome even writes,
You may notice some foods that you are allergic or sensitive to in your recommended food lists. Err on the side of caution. If you know you have a reaction or dislike to a recommended food, please do not consume it. Foods are specifically chosen based on your unique microbiome rather than on allergies.
You dont need to spend hundreds of dollars to know not to eat food youre allergic to even if your microbiome might like it.
Finally, and most aggravatingly, were not entirely sure how to change the microbiome or even how much we can change it. While fecal microbiota transplants show some promise in changing the microbiome, theres not enough research on long-term impacts.
And as for probiotics? The National Institutes of Health writes,
In other words, the microbiome may hold some clues to longevity, but were unsure of how to quantify and/or manipulate it.
Change Your Diet; Change Your Microbiome
Written By Michael Greger M.D. FACLM on May 3rd, 2018
If whatever gut flora enterotype we are could play an important role in our risk of developing chronic diet-associated diseases , can we alter our gut microbiome by altering our diet? Yes. Indeed, diet can rapidly and reproducibly alter the bacteria in our gut, as I discuss in my video How to Change Your Enterotype.
Concern has been growing that recent lifestyle trendsmost notably the high-fat and high-sugar Western diethave altered the composition and activity of our resident gut flora. Such diet-induced changes to gut-associated microbial communities are now suspected of contributing to growing epidemics of chronic illness in the developed world, yet it has remained unclear how quickly our gut bacteria could respond to dietary change. So, researchers prepared two diets: a plant-based diet rich in grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables, and an animal-based diet composed of meats, eggs, and cheeses. Neither diet contained refined sugars, as the researchers just wanted to test diets consisting of plant versus animal products. Within just one day of the animal-based diet hitting the gut, there was a significant shift.
One Man’s Battle With Anorexia
Our microbiomes dictate more about our bodies and our lives than we may like to admit. The influences range from the obvious, such as intestinal health, to the surprising, such as our moods. When microbiome-augmentation coincided with Joness child going from nearly non-verbal to conversational, it hinted at the astounding authority microbes can wield over human wellness.
The science is anything but settled, though. After years of connecting the dots between microbes and human health, scientists have begun using microbes for medicinebut is it precise enough, and at what cost? And can we use that knowledge to alter our own microbiomes for the better, even if we arent sick?
It wasnt up until the late 1990s that microbial ecologists turned their attention to people and unearthed a microbial symphony within.
Research efforts accelerated in 2008 when technology developed by the Human Genome Project made it easier to identify microbes by rapidly sequencing their genetic material. The diversity those tests revealed was startling: Scientists now estimate that roughly 1,000 distinct microbe species have evolved specifically for living in the human body, and a healthy persons microbiome contains combinations of hundreds of different speciesmaking your microbiome unique like your fingerprint.
Still, a general trend has stood outhealthy people harbor more diversity in their guts.
One option for enhancing your health via the microbiome is adjusting your diet.
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Foods Harmful To Gut Bacterial Health
Sugary and certain processed food items can promote harmful gut bacterial growth. Artificial sweeteners such as saccharin and aspartame can reduce the numbers of good gut bacteria and must be avoided. Foods containing unhealthy fats must also be dropped from the diet and replaced with healthy fats rich in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon. Digbi Health has operationalized the first gut microbiome and DNA-based weight loss program covered by insurance companies. For personalized guidance to help you navigate your unique biology, metabolism, lifestyle, and food preferences, try our customized gut biome and DNA-based weight loss program.
Stop Cleaning So Much
Our hatred of bacteria is big business. Were offered a never-ending supply of antibacterial cleaning substances to drench ourselves and our houses in. While its not sensible to eat your dinner off your dirty kitchen floor, its not necessary to disinfect your hands or your work surface every five minutes either.
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Limit Your Alcohol Intake
Drinking too much may negatively affect your microbiome, too. Repeated alcohol use is linked to gastritis, an irritation of the gut in which it becomes inflamed. Such inflammation can lead to heartburn, chronic discomfort, ulcers and bacterial infections.
Drinking too much is also associated with intestinal inflammation, which is a sign of an unhealthy gut. Research suggests that this kind of inflammation alters the microbiotaincluding how well it worksand can throw it off balance.
A Changing Gut Microbiome May Predict How Well You Age
People whose gut bacteria transformed over the decades tended to be healthier and live longer.
The secret to successful aging may lie in part in your gut, according to a new report. The study found that it may be possible to predict your likelihood of living a long and healthy life by analyzing the trillions of bacteria, viruses and fungi that inhabit your intestinal tract.
The new research, , found that as people get older, the composition of this complex community of microbes, collectively known as the gut microbiome, tends to change. And the greater the change, the better, it appears.
In healthy people, the kinds of microbes that dominate the gut in early adulthood make up a smaller and smaller proportion of the microbiome over the ensuing decades, while the percentage of other, less prevalent species rises. But in people who are less healthy, the study found, the opposite occurs: The composition of their microbiomes remains relatively static and they tend to die earlier.
The new findings suggest that a gut microbiome that continually transforms as you get older is a sign of healthy aging, said a co-author of the study, Sean Gibbons, a microbiome specialist and assistant professor at the Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle, a nonprofit biomedical research organization.
What we found is that over the different decades of life, individuals drift apart their microbiomes become more and more unique from one another, said Dr. Gibbons.
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Can You Change Your Microbiome
Boosting beneficial microbes sounds simple enough, but the benefits for healthy people are hard to pin down.
I cant believe ithes a chatterbox! Samantha Jones* shrieked with delight.
Her autistic son was typically quiet, nearly non-verbal most of his life, but a microbiome-augmenting treatment had drastically improved the childs behaviorlike the flip of a light switch. Joness child was part of a study that examined the role that microscopic critters living inside us, collectively known as the microbiome, can play in gastrointestinal issues and autism. While the study was small, it suggests that altering our microbes can have wide-reaching consequencessometimes for the better.
Finding The Good And Bad Microbes Linked To Health
The latest findings from our PREDICT study – the worldâs largest in-depth investigation of diet, nutrition, and the microbiome – have allowed us to start untangling the interactions between diet, gut microbes, and markers of health.
In total, we found 15 microbes that were strongly associated with having better markers of heart and metabolic health . People with these microbes had healthier responses to sugar and fat after eating, as well as having lower inflammation and less belly fat.
We also found the opposite: 15 âbadâ bugs, which were consistently associated with worse health indicators and unhealthier responses after eating.
Additionally, we discovered that these different microbial species were associated with particular foods, nutrients, and diet patterns.Â
As an example, people with lots of a type of bacteria called Bifidobacterium animalis in their gut were more sensitive to insulin, which indicates better blood sugar control. Another bug, Prevotella copri, was associated with having healthier blood sugar levels after eating.
This is significant because good blood sugar and insulin control help to avoid dramatic peaks and crashes, which can leave you feeling tired and hungry on a day to day basis and increase the risk of type 2 diabetes in the longer term.Â
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Can Endurance Exercise Change Your Gut Microbiome
Can Endurance Exercise Change Your Gut Microbiome?
The gut microbiome, the population of bacteria that lives in your intestinal tract, is command central for a number of functions that impact your health. In fact, the gut microbiome is sometimes called the second brain, thanks to the chemicals it releases. These chemicals are the same ones, like serotonin and dopamine, that your brain releases. Plus, 70% of your immune system resides in your gut as well.
However, theres still much to learn about the gut microbiome, such as which bacteria are most important for health and in what ratios. We know that diet plays a key role in the composition of our gut microbiome but what about exercise? Exercise seems to benefit other parts of our body, what about the gut microbiome?
Light Isnt The Only Way To Influence Our Circadian Gene Expression
The peripheral clock in our liver is entrained by whenever we normally eat foods. This has some big implications on timing food for when your body is ready for breaking it down.
Another big player in our circadian gene expression timing that may surprise you: our gut microbiome. Those trillions of bacteria, viruses, and archaea that make up your microbiome are both influenced by you and have an influence on you.
Say you go out for a big meal of lasagna and wine a couple of hours later than normal and then you pay the price with a restless night and bad sleep. You get up the next morning feeling groggy and just off, and you may want to blame the wine or wonder if the calamari you ate as an appetizer was bad. It could be that your gut microbiome is to blame here. Just like jet lag can mess up your whole circadian system and make you feel awful, messing with the timing, quantity, and content of what you eat can affect your circadian system via what your gut bugs are doing.
So the bacteria in our gut microbiome fluctuate in numbers and location over the course of 24 hours. They are producing metabolites that act as signals to our human cells, and these signals are oscillating over the course of a 24-hour day.
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Rebalance Of The Intestinal Ecosystem
Many therapeutic strategies have been developed to re-establish intestinal eubiosis, and new strategies are constantly proposed and investigated. The main and at present best known and most adopted therapeutic strategies include the administration of probiotic bacteria likely to displace potentially pathogenic bacteria and promote a rebalance of the microbial community; the administration of prebiotics to favor the overgrowth of probiotic bacteria; and the administration of probiotics and prebiotics combinations . More recent therapeutic approaches have been proposed, including phage therapy, fecal transplantation, BCT, and a still poorly investigated approach based on predatory bacteria. All of these strategies share the same goal of replacing harmful microbes with more favorable ones to restore eubiosis.
Your Microbiome Is A Self
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, were told. And in this case, you should be very flattered, because your microbiome looks just like you .
Thanks to genetic sequencing technology, humanity recently discovered how essential our gut microbes are for good health, and how much they reflect our daily lives and naughty indulgences. But first, we should probably explain what the fuss is about bacteria.
In a nutshell, your gut bacteria produce fatty acids, vitamins, and amino acids that have a range of beneficial effects for the body, from promoting healthy immune system function to maintaining the integrity of the gut lining.
You can learn more about the composition of your gut microbiome and how it affects your health with the Atlas Biomed Microbiome Test.
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Cultivating Healthy Gut Bacteria
Whether or not it plays out that exercise contributes to a more diverse gut microbiome, exercise is one of the best prescriptions for health and there are other ways to keep your gut bacteria as diverse and healthy as possible:
Eliminate processed foods from your diet and replace them with whole foods.
Eat more fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. These foods contain prebiotics that feed healthy gut bacteria.
Add fermented foods to your diet yogurt with active cultures, Kimchi, fresh sauerkraut, kefir, miso, and tempeh.
Dont take antibiotics unless you absolutely have to. If you do have to take them, take a high-quality probiotic too.
Find ways to deal with stress, like meditation, spirituality, or yoga. Stress can disrupt your gut microbiome.
Can Probiotics Change The Guts Microbiome
- ID Snapshot
Editors note:This is the third of a three-part series on prebiotics, probiotics and dietary supplements. Read the first article at , and the second article at .
Microbes in the human body outnumber human cells by 10:1, and the majority of microbes live in the intestine. The sum of the number of genes in all microbes in a persons microbiome is about 1,000 times the number of genes in the human genome.
Increasing evidence suggests that changes in a persons microbiome correlate with certain disease states. These observations have led to the theoretical possibility that manipulation of the microbiome might be a treatment option for certain diseases.
The extent by which probiotics modulate the host intestinal microbiota in a healthy individual is not clear. Theoretically, probiotics provide an opportunity to replenish the microflora following perturbation such as during antibiotic administration. In view of the highly diverse nature of the microbiome of the intestine and the large number of bacteria present in the intestine, it is difficult to evaluate minimal or partial distortion of the customary bacterial population that may occur during a disease state. In addition, the microbiome and the effect of antibiotics on the microbiome may differ from person to person.
Which of the following statements are true?
c) Vaginal seeding of an infant delivered by cesarean section is a safe practice.
Answer: a, b and d are true
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Processed & Packaged Foods
The more processed foods we consume, the more sterile our diets become. Processed food decreases the amount of good bacteria in our bodies. Studies show that eating ultra-processed foods provides the perfect environment for bad gut bacteria to thrive and cause inflammation. To combat this scenario, try preparing your own meals from fresh, whole foods as often as possible.
The Hunt For A Healthy Microbiome
What does a healthy forest look like? A seemingly thriving, verdant wilderness can conceal signs of pollution, disease or invasive species. Only an ecologist can spot problems that could jeopardize the long-term well-being of the entire ecosystem.
Microbiome researchers grapple with the same problem. Disruptions to the community of microbes living in the human gut can contribute to the risk and severity of a host of medical conditions. Accordingly, many scientists have become accomplished bacterial naturalists, labouring to catalogue the startling diversity of these commensal communities. Some 5001,000 bacterial species reside in each persons intestinal tract, alongside an undetermined number of viruses, fungi and other microbes.
Rapid advances in DNA sequencing technology have accelerated the identification of these bacteria, allowing researchers to create field guides to the species in the human gut. Were starting to get a feeling of who the players are, says Jeroen Raes, a bioinformatician at VIB, a life-sciences institute in Ghent, Belgium. But there is still considerable dark matter.
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Does A Gut Reset Work
Oftentimes, 3-day gut resets involve adopting habits that are generally beneficial for human health. Eating a healthful, balanced diet and eliminating potentially harmful foods may help people feel better in a variety of ways.
However, scientists have not investigated whether a 3-day gut reset can permanently change a persons microbiome or create lasting health improvements.
Research has shown that short-term dietary changes do alter a persons gut flora. In a 2013 study , researchers found that bacteria responded rapidly to a sudden change to a plant-based diet.
This suggests that a 3-day gut reset may positively influence the microbiome during the diet. For lasting benefits, however, it may be necessary to implement longer-term changes to diet and lifestyle.
According to a , the Mediterranean diet can increase the amount and diversity of beneficial bacteria in the gut, whereas other types of diet may decrease it. The latter include:
- the Western diet, or Standard American Diet
- gluten-free diets
The Mediterranean diet includes many of the features of a gut reset, focusing on healthy fats, vegetables, and other sources of fiber. A 3-day gut reset may help a person transition to a diet that includes more of these foods.
If a person wants to try a 3-day gut reset, it is a good idea to plan ahead. Gut resets often require sudden and significant changes to the diet, so it can help if a person prepares by:
How Can We Improve Metabolic Health Through Changes To The Microbiome
Diet shapes the gut microbiome. The modern Western diet is low on fiber and high in unnatural additivesthis combination reduces or removes certain groups of microbes from the gut. When those conditions persist, the weakened gut microbiome damages our immune and metabolic functions in the ways shown above, which further harms the microbiome, creating a negative feedback loop. While we need more controlled human-intervention studies, research thus far suggests that some simple interventions can reduce damages in microbiome-regulated metabolic and immune functions.
The benefits of fiber-rich food are well knownfiber slows your digestion so you stay fuller longer, and it promotes blood-sugar and cholesterol control. We have seen above that the gut microbiome has everything to do with these benefits. Fiber-rich foodssuch as beans, legumes, fresh vegetables, nuts, seeds, fruit, and whole grainsare particularly good at supporting the growth of beneficial gut microbes that regulate metabolic hormones and reduce inflammation.
In addition, polyphenol-rich foods, including green tea and berries, appear to modulate the gut microbiome and increase beneficial groups of bacteria.
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Diet Approach To Modulate Gut Microbiota
A diet-based approach to modulate the microbiota should consider the effect of long-term diets . Recent studies have highlighted important differences in the ability to modulate microbiota composition in long-term and short-term diets. In short-term diets, changes are significant and rapid, but the magnitude of changes is modest and insufficient to relocate individuals from one enterotype to another . In contrast, long-term diets are adequate to relocate enterotypes . If an enterotype is shown to be causative/linked to a disease, long-term dietary interventions could represent a good strategy to help . Among diet interventions, a feeding regime with a low content of fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharaides, and polyols was shown to reduce gastrointestinal symptoms in patients with IBS in less than 48 h .
In IBS patients who experienced a low FODMAPs diet, carbohydrates fermentation is reduced, and a decrease in luminal osmolarity and gas generation is observed. Consequently, typical IBS symptoms of gas and bloating are reduced/eliminated . However, more studies should be carried out on the effects of a long-term low FODMAPs diet. It should be borne in mind that FODMAPs, especially oligosaccharides, play an important role in stimulating the growth of beneficial bacterial groups. The long-term assumption of a low FODMAPs diet could have unpredictable effects on the composition of gut microbiota.
Which Foods Are Best For Your Microbiome
Some of the associations we found between specific foods and microbes werenât surprising and matched up well with the results from other research groups.
For example, people who eat a lot of yogurt tend to have high levels of a bug called Bifidobacterium animalis. This makes sense, because this microbe is found in live yogurt.Â
However, there were also some surprises. We found that coffee drinkers were highly likely to have a specific type of Firmicutes bacteria in their guts, while tea drinkers had virtually none. Reassuringly for wine drinkers, we also found a link between red wine and certain “good” microbes, which is possibly due to the high levels of polyphenols that bacteria like to eat.
Intriguingly, dark chocolate was strongly associated with the “good” microbes we identified but milk chocolate was linked to “bad” bugs.Â
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How The Gut Microbiome Affects Metabolic Health
How can the gut microbiome, which is physically separate from human cells, influence human physiology?
The microbes speak the same language as human cells and communicate by producing metabolites, or products of metabolism, that cells can read. One example is short chain fatty acids , produced by the bacterial fermentation of dietary fiber in the gut. SCFA exist in many formsacetate, propionate, and butyrate are the most commonand support metabolic and immune functions, among others.
Different types of fiber and bacteria present in the gut determine the types and amounts of SCFA produced. People with obesity and diabetes seem to have fewer bacteria that produce butyrate, which suggests a link between the lack of butyrate and the pathologies behind these conditions. Other examples include bacteria-transformed bile acids, amino acids, neurotransmitters, vitamins, and more. Here are some of the metabolic processes directly and indirectly regulated by these microbial metabolites.
Within minutes after we eat food, specialized cells in the gut lining called L cells begin releasing GLP-1. This incretin also slows the rate of food leaving the stomach , decreases appetite, and improves insulin sensitivity.
Beyond The Limitation Of Probiotics
Probiotics are a minefield. There are live versions, dried versions, freeze-dried, soil-based, spore-forming, even phages. There are many ways to put probiotics into your system, even probiotic enemas. And the tablets you may have heard of are Prescript Assist, MegaSpore Biotic perhaps, Restore for Life , Symprove comes highly regarded by some, with D-Lactate Free Probiotics being an expensive version often recommended, and Saccharomyces Boulardii is very popular, again despite it not strictly being a probiotic .
The reason for this variety is that there isn’t one universally well-regarded and ‘optimal’ way to take probiotics. Moreover, the probiotic ‘industry’ is completely unregulated. Originally, the way probiotics were certified as effective was to firstly test the capsule to see whether it actually contained the strains that were reported on the bottle and then to test whether some of that strain ‘came out’ the other end . As you can tell, this tells us nothing of whether the strains took up residence in the gut, and if so, for how long. It tells us nothing of the actual impact of the probiotic at all. It just tells us that probiotics did pass through the digestive tract – which is actually better than some old versions of probiotics which were mostly broken down in the stomach by the acidic environments.
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