When it comes to gut bacteria, the more, the merrier. In fact, trillions of bacteria live in our gut and play a vital role in our overall health. Its roles include, but are not limited to: the digestion of food, immune health, production of vitamins and messenger molecules, mood regulation, and brain function.
Many factors can affect the diversity of bacteria in our gut--also known as our microbiome--such as diet. However, recents studies have revealed genetics, surprisingly, play a minor role. In fact, research reveals identical twins only share approximately one third of their gut bacteria in common. This explains why we each respond differently to particular food sources.
Gut microbes begin to inhabit our gut as soon as we are born (and potentially even sooner!) but come and go over time. These bacteria produce substances that are absorbed into our bloodstream through our intestinal walls and perform functions in our immune and nervous systems as well as our organs.
Our gut microbiome is a very delicate balance of good and bad bacteria. If our gut is out of balance--also known as dysbiosis--conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, chronic fatigue, or even cancer can result. While not entirely understood, potential causes of dysbiosis include: stress, poor diet, antibiotic use, illness, and obesity.
A healthy gut is a diverse gut and, thus, the food we consume is one of the most significant factors affecting gut bacteria diversity. Food, supplements, and prescription medications all feed the bacteria living there. Some bacteria prefer certain foods over others and it is, therefore, important to eat a wide range of healthy, whole food.
At Total Body Health, we can help improve the health of your gut and reduce dietary inflammation. Your long-term health is important to us. Call today for your FREE consultation.