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Helping to Heal your Gut: Part One - The Microbiome



When dealing with underlying health issues it is incredibly important to consider your gut. Your

microbiome is immensely vast and complex. The importance of it cannot be underscored enough.

This gut microbiome is an extremely intelligent bacterial ecosystem which your immune system is

mainly comprised of, in fact, your body in actuality is 10 times more bacteria than human cells.

What sounds like science fiction is actually fact! These trillions of microbes and their colonies are

the manufacturers and managers of how you look, feel, and think. Researchers are quickly learning how much it regulates just about every system of your body.


As the age-old Hippocratic saying goes, “All disease begins in the gut”;

when your microbiome is weakened or damaged, it can “switch on” a number of potential disease

processes throughout the body. It’s important to note that you don’t have to be experiencing gastrointestinal symptoms to have poor microbiome health. We are just beginning to understand the microbiome, but below are some of the surprising ways an unhealthy microbiome can wreck your health.


AUTOIMMUNE CONDITIONS

The last century has seen a rapid rise of autoimmune diseases. As of now, there are around 100 recognized autoimmune conditions and about 40 other diseases that have an autoimmune com-ponent. Because 80% of your immune system resides in your gut, it is no surprise that a damaged microbiome and leaky gut syndrome is a precondition for autoimmunity.


MENTAL CONDITIONS

Your gut and brain are inextricably linked through the communication lines that are referred to asthe gut-brain axis. In the medical literature, your gut is actually referred to as “the second brain.” An unhealthy microbiome has been linked to mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression.


POOR IMMUNE HEALTH

Should be no surprise here, but if you find yourself sick often, you’ll want to know your microbiome health. Chronically low immune system health can be largely due to weakened microbiome health; an overgrowth of opportunistic bacteria, yeast or fungus; or possibly even a parasite.


HEART DISEASE

A possible correlation between the microbiome and cardiovascular disease was recently found.

Certain bacteria produce higher levels of TMAO (trimethylamine-N-oxide) which is linked to a

higher risk of heart attack and stroke. It is still unclear which microorganism produces more

TMAO, but researchers are hoping, that in the future, manipulation of microbiome species can

help in the pre- vention and treatment of heart disease.


TYPE II DIABETES

This chronic degenerative disease has recently been linked to microbiome disturbances. One study found that transplanting the microbiome of diabetic mice into healthy mice made them diabetic as well!

SKIN CONDITIONS

Skin problems like acne, rosacea or facial redness, especially on the cheeks, psoriasis, eczema,

and dermatitis all have a microbiome and inflammatory autoimmune component to them. For

many, the missing link to healing their skin issues is healing their microbiome.

WEIGHT GAIN

An imbalance of bacteria in the microbiome has been shown to cause weight loss resistance and obesity. Studies in mice found that overweight mice had a higher amount of the Firmicutes bacteria, while thin mice had a higher proportion of Bacteroidetes. In the human cases, the beneficial bacteria called Lactobacillus rhamnosus was found to be helpful for weight loss in women. The micro-biome factor in weight gain cases is a key component for many to lose weight their body has been holding on to for years.


ACID REFLUX

Millions of people suffer from acid reflux, or the more serious GERD. These problems are correlated with a microbiome dysfunction called SIBO, or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.


CANCER

A fascinating study out of the University of North Carolina suggests that damage and inflammation of the gut severely decreased the variety of bacterial species in the microbiome. This loss of micro- biome diversity allowed a pathogenic bacterial overgrowth of E. coli. Eighty percent of mice with E. coli infection developed colorectal cancer.


DIGESTION

This is obvious, but digestive problems are so common, it’s important to mention. One study found that there was significantly lower amounts of the bacteria Prevotella and increased levels of Firmicutes in constipated patients. Interestingly, the conventional probiotics that people take, Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria, were not decreased in the microbiomes of the constipated patients.


ASTHMA

Some have predicted that this year will be the year of the microbiome. Over the coming years, as we continue to learn more about the microbiome, I suspect this might become the decade of the microbiome. Some have predicted that this year will be the year of the microbiome. Over the coming years, as we continue to learn more about the microbiome, I suspect this might become the decade of the microbiome.


Stay tuned for Part Two as we dig a little deeper into healing your gut from the inside out!

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