How it works
Why the Gut Microbiome is Crucial for Your Health
Helps control your immune system : The gut microbiome also controls how your immune system works. By communicating with immune cells, the gut microbiome can control how your body responds to infection
Helps control brain health : New research suggests that the gut microbiome may also affect the central nervous system, which controls brain function
Helps Digest Fiber : Certain bacteria digest fiber, producing short-chain fatty acids, which are important for gut health. Fiber may help prevent weight gain, diabetes, heart disease and the risk of cancer
The Connection Between your Gut Health and Mental Health
Researchers are finding evidence that irritation in the gastrointestinal system may send signals to the central nervous system (CNS) that trigger mood changes. This connection is bidirectional. The gastrointestinal tract is sensitive to emotion. Anger, anxiety, sadness, elation — all of these feelings (and others) can trigger symptoms in the gut. As a result, a person’s stomach or intestinal distress can be the cause or the product of anxiety, stress or depression.
What are the Signs of a Gut Health Problem
Everyone at some point experiences digestive problems such as abdominal pain, bloating, loose stools, constipation, heartburn, nausea or vomiting. When symptoms persist, it may be a sign of an underlying problem that needs medical attention. Weight loss without a good reason, blood in the stool, black stool (a sign of bleeding in the gut), severe vomiting, fever, severe stomachaches, trouble swallowing food, pain in the throat or chest when food is swallowed, or jaundice (a yellow discoloration of the skin or eyes) could potentially indicate an underlying gastrointestinal problem with serious consequences. Consult your doctor if any of these symptoms occur.
How do I Make Sure my Microbiome is Healthy?
Well, here’s the thing. We don’t know what a healthy microbiome looks like. We may never. While it would be remarkable to say ‘you’re missing Lactobacilli, here’s a supplement for it’, it’s simply not how science works. The ideal microbiome probably doesn’t exist. As diverse as we are, so are our microbiomes, and for good reason. What you can ask is this—are my bacteria working optimally with my body to perform the functions critical to my health? How can I support my microbiome in the daily choices I make? Am I eating for myself or also for my 38,000,000,000,000 bacteria within? Should I be incorporating probiotics and prebiotics into my routine?