The Gut Microbiome: Key Markers Of Your Overall Health
Our gut microbiome lives symbiotically with us, shaping our overall digestive health, metabolism, and immunity. However, what does it mean to have a healthy microbiome, and how can we achieve that? In this article, we will explore this question.
The gut microbiome: our internal jungle
Our gut microbiome is a breathing, living ecosystem that is full of various types of microbes, both friends and foes, competing for nutrients and space. The microbiome has, over many years, been found to play a vital role in our overall health, influencing our metabolism, immunity, and even potentially our mood. Just as we rely on them for specific functions, such as the break down of indigestible fibres and reinforcing of our intestinal linings, they, too, rely on us to ensure that they have sufficient nutrients and healthy living conditions to thrive.
In light of this connection, it is only natural to consider what it means to have a healthy microbiome. While the question may seem relatively simple, the solution is surprisingly complex. Just like how there are many different types of ecosystems in nature, from the freezing arctic to the humid jungles, so is our gut microbiome. Each and every one’s gut microbiome differs.
Balance and diversity
Our gut microbiome is more or less stable when we reach adulthood. While not entirely immutable, multiple factors impacting its diversity include geography, use of antibiotics, lifestyle, and diet. Both balance and diversity are parameters that help to increase the stability of our gut microbiome, making it more resilient to any disturbances, such as pathogenic attacks.
What does an unhealthy gut microbiome look like?
One way to understand what a healthy gut microbiome looks like is to note the composition of gut bacteria associated with certain diseases. Researchers often look for particular patterns that show a potential microbial risk.
Nonetheless, there are sure signs of what an unhealthy gut microbiome looks like. Dysbiosis of our gut microbiome may lead to various gut-related issues, such as IBS diarrhoea, and maybe even increase your risk of colon cancer. To put it simply, dysbiosis is the reduction in the diversity of our gut microbiome, which then encourages pro-inflammatory bacteria to thrive.
How to improve overall gut microbiome health?
Your gut microbiome feeds on what you eat, which is the reason why your diet can influence the bacterial community in your microbiome. In order for probiotics to thrive, you need to have a high prebiotic diet. Prebiotics and probiotics go hand-in-hand. A high probiotic diet, such as consuming kimchi, miso, or kombucha, does not compensate for a low prebiotic diet because probiotics feed on prebiotics to thrive. Hence, food such as onions and garlic are examples known to be rich in prebiotics.
A diverse and well-balanced gut microbiome is a crucial marker of good overall health. However, it does not mean taking it for granted. Adequate care in maintaining a well-balanced diet, as well as regular gastroenterology visits, helps ensure that. Let GUTCARE help you with our experienced gastroenterologists.