Understanding Gut Microbiomes and their Health
Maintaining your gut health is very important to always remain in good shape. It's essential to learn more about the microbiome and health to avoid experiencing health issues. The human body contains trillions of bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Together, they are called microbiomes.
There are different types of bacteria in your body. Some of them can cause diseases but not all bacterias are harmful. Others are even essential for your immune system. They can also help for maintaining good overall health. That's why microbiome and health are always associated.
Why the Gut Microbiome Is Crucial for Your Health
Microbiome and health go hand in hand since they can affect you. Having an imbalance of good and bad microbes from the intestines can affect your health. It can lead to weight gain, high blood sugar levels, high cholesterol levels, and other diseases.
But there is no need to panic since you can do something about it. All you have to do is support the healthy microbes from your gut. You can do this by eating different fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fermented food.
What Is the Gut Microbiome?
The gut microbiome is composed of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other microorganisms. It's also called microbes for short. Many of them exist inside your intestines as well as your skin. They can be mostly found in the cecum which is the pocket of your large intestine.
There are a lot of different types of microbes living inside your body. The human body has more bacterial cells in comparison to human cells. 40 trillion bacterial cells make up your body while only composed of 30 trillion human cells. Most of them are essential for your health and some can make you sick.
What Does the Gut Microbiota Do?
When it comes to microbiome and health, the gut microbiota will help you to stay healthy. It provides important capacities for the fermentation of the non-digestible substrates. Examples are dietary fibers and endogenous intestinal mucus. Fermentation will support the growth of specialist microbes.
It will help your body to produce SCFAs or short-chain fatty acids such as acetate, propionate, butyrate, and other gases. Acetate is essential for other bacterias to grow. Butyrate is the energy source of human colonocytes. While propionate regulates satiety and glycogenesis.
How Microbiota Benefit the Body
Microbiome and health are always associated since it already affects you from birth. It will continue to help you throughout your entire life. Microbiota controls the digestion of food, immune system, central nervous system, and more processes that happen inside your body.
Your gut microbiome starts to diversify as you grow. It will begin to have different types of microbial species. It will be good for your health if you have a lot of different microbiomes inside your body. They can also affect the food that you eat to keep you healthy.
How Microbiota Benefit the Body
1. The Gut Microbiome May Affect Your Weight
Some studies show that the gut microbiome is not the same for everyone. Even between identical twins, one is healthy while the other one is obese. That means that the gut microbiome is not genetic. Probiotics can restore your gut health to aid you with weight loss. The more variety of microbiome your body has, the more it can keep you fit and healthy.
2. It Affects Gut Health
Your gut health can be affected by the microbiome. Although microbiome and health sound positive, it's not always the case. They can also play a role in the development of intestinal diseases. That Includes irritable bowel syndrome as well as inflammatory bowel disease. Due to gut dysbiosis, you can experience bloating, cramps, and abdominal pains. Microbes can produce a lot of gas and other chemicals.
3. The Gut Microbiome May Benefit Heart Health
The gut microbe can affect your heart health as well. The microbiome has an important role in promoting good HDL cholesterol and triglycerides. That's from a recent study conducted with 1,500 people. But unhealthy gut microbiomes can also contribute to heart disease since they produce trimethylamine N-oxide. That's why it's important to keep them balanced to avoid the negative effects. This can also be complemented with exercises to further boost your heart health.
4. It May Help Control Blood Sugar and Lower the Risk of Diabetes
The gut microbiome can also reduce the risks of type 1 and 2 diabetes. It will help your blood sugar to stay at healthy levels. A recent study with 33 infants that are genetically high risk of developing type 1 diabetes was conducted. It was found that different varieties of microbiome lower their risk of this disease.
5. It May Affect Brain Health
Some types of bacteria help to produce chemicals from the brain. It's also known as the neurotransmitter. Microbiome and health can extend to your brain health as well. The gut is physically connected to your brain. Therefore, it can affect your brain and helps to control the messages that will be sent from these nerves.
6. Effects of Food and Drugs on the Gut Microbiota
Different commonly used drugs could alter your microbiome. Proton pump, metformin, inhibitors, serotonin reuptake inhibitors, and laxatives can affect the gut microbiota. When it comes to food, it can influence its composition, diversity, and stability. Although your diet may induce a change in your gut microbiota, these effects are only temporary. But it's better to stick with a healthy diet.
7. Can Diet Affect One's Microbiota?
Your diet can affect the composition of the gut microbiota. It can manipulate the microbial diversity, composition, and stability of your gut. But these changes caused by one's diet seem to be only temporary. The best thing to do is to add foods that are good for your gut health such as fruits, vegetables, fermented foods, and many more.
8. How Can I Make My Gut Microbiome Healthy?
It's not hard to get back on track and make your gut microbiome healthy again. To improve your gut health, you have to just do the following:
- Eat a wide range of food varieties.
- Include fermented food in your diet.
- Avoid artificial sweeteners
- Have some prebiotic foods
- Take probiotic supplements.
- Go for whole grains.
- Opt into a plant-based diet.
- Eat polyphenol-rich food.
- Only take antibiotics when needed.
9. Manipulating the Gut Microbiota Through Diet
Microbiome and health can be manipulated by eating a variety of food. Your gut microbiota is composed of many microorganisms. That means that they also need different nutrients to promote their growth. The more diverse your diet is, the better the good bacteria can thrive on your gut. It makes your immune system stronger and prevents diseases.
10. Prebiotic Foods and Dietary Fibre
Prebiotics can increase the number of bifidobacteria. They have many health benefits and can affect diseases and digestive symptoms. It may be due to the direct effect of probiotic bacteria in the gut microbiota. Dietary fiber found in legumes can also have a good effect on your gut health. It will keep the good bacteria healthy so that you avoid the risks of diseases.
11. What are Prebiotics and Probiotics?
Prebiotics are specialized plant fibers that will feed good bacteria. It can stimulate their growth along with the preexisting good bacteria. Probiotics, on the other hand, are living strains of bacteria. It will add to the good bacteria population on your digestive system. They can also influence the microbiota composition and the resident microbiota.
12. Probiotic Foods
To improve the microbiome and health, it's advisable to eat probiotics. Below are some foods that contain probiotics. By including them in your diet, you can make sure to promote growth for the good bacteria in your gut. You can add them to your grocery list.
Microbiome and health should be taken seriously. If your gut health is not in good shape, bad bacterias will make you sick. That's why it's important to feed the good bacteria instead. It can also promote weight loss which will bring you back in shape.
FAQ, Frequently Asked Questions
1. When does the gut microbiota start developing?
The intestinal bacterial colonization starts developing as early as the fetus is already in the lower uterus. Although the gut microbiota will be established after birth. Establishing a stable gut microbiota is also one of the big transitions that occur during infancy. Therefore, those microorganisms are already inside your gut even before you were born.
2. How does the gut microbiota evolve?
The ancient microbiome is an essential part of our ancestors' survival. That's why it may be more important before compared to modern times. The gut microbiota evolves through the person's diet, antibiotics, and even from age. That means that it's constantly evolving as you age and have different types of diets.
3. What is a normal or health-associated human gut microbiota?
Health associated with human gut microbiota may vary. There are several factors in shaping the normal human gut microbiota. It imparts specific functions in host nutrient metabolism, drug metabolism, and xenobiotic. Therefore, the normal gut microbiota can't is generalized. All you can do is start eating a healthy diet that promotes healthy gut health.