This is our favourite topic and an emerging field of science.
Do you down, slowed down by brain fog, or feel constantly bloated? All of these issues plus many more can traced backed to one specific area… your gut!
Your gut is this amazing ecosystem of gut flora that include trillions of microscopic organisms, bacteria, fungi, viruses, and yeasts
Most of these microbes live in your intestines and colon.
The quick fun facts about your microbiome:
- You have 10x the number microbes than human cells
- There’s 100 trillion microbes
- The microbes weigh about 2-3 kg
- There are other microbiome sites throughout the human body – skin, mouth, and vagina to name a few
- Our bacteria help digest food, regulate our immune system, fight against bacteria that cause disease, and produce vitamin B12, thiamine and riboflavin, and K (needed for blood coagulation)
- Most of the weight of your poop is bacteria
Your gut garden is as unique as a snow flake, no microbiome is the same. You’ll hear lots people say “good” and “bad” bacteria, it’s not quite that simple. If you get rid of the “bad bacteria” then the even worse bacteria starts to take over.
It’s more about a ratio between the “good and bad”, there’s no one single strain that will “fix” you. It’s the diversity of the ecosystem. A ratio that leans towards the “bad bacteria” will have you feeling like crap and take away from the quality of life. You want a vibrant, luscious ecosystem of bacteria where the good work with the bad together in harmony.
Where do you get your gut microbiome?
Lots of research says that it’s pretty much set by the age of the 2-3 and we can only make little changes by then (without a lot of hard work). Our first experience with bacteria is through the vaginal canal with birth. Children delivered via C-section have higher rates of allergies among a couple other things. You also get your bacteria from breastfeeding, skin to skin contact, and playing in the dirt.
Your gut ecosystem is critical in setting the tone for your gut health for the rest of your life.
The gut microbiome is emerging as one of the hottest topics looked at by scientists for it’s connection to almost everything in the body. A problematic gut leads to all kinds of diseases, serious and less serious. These include depression, heart disease, diabetes, MS, asthma, autoimmune conditions, and even cancers. It’s hard to find a disease that isn’t related to the gut somehow.
What are the signs something isn’t right?
• Gas and/or bloating or digestive issues (you can have digestive problems without digestive issues)
• Mood swings, brain fog, difficulty concentrating, or forgetfulness
• Weight gain or having trouble losing weight
• Skin problems – Acne, eczema, and rosacea
• Food Sensitives
• Autoimmune conditions ( MS, type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, etc)
• Joint pain
What affects our gut microbiome?
• Processed food
• Chemicals (glyphosate is the main looked one)
Stress, mood changes, and your gut
Your brain and gut work together via a highway, this nerve is called the vagus nerve. This is how your brain “talks” to your gut, and vice-versa.
Have you ever had those “gut instincts” where you get butterflies in your stomach? That’s your brain sending signals to your gut that cause physical symptoms. Trust it.
This is your gut-brain axis or the superhighway that I like to call it. Having strong vagal tone improves this communication.
What does stress do to the gut?
Stress isn’t good for this highway. Stress signals the release of different neurotransmitters and pro-inflammatory immune cells (cytokines).
This can really affect the gut in many ways:
- Cause intestinal movement problems (intestinal dysmotility) – The muscles and the nerves that cause the intestines to functional well don’t work properly.
- Leaky gut – The chronic levels of stress wreck havoc on your intestinal wall that cause “holes or gaps “ in that wall that allow “toxins” to get into your blood stream.
- You don’t get enough blood or oxygen there. The body shuttles the blood supply to your muscles so you can escape the “danger” the only problem is you probably don’t need to run from your job, your partner, or money (well maybe, but it won’t help). It’s real hard to get the right nutrients to an area you’re trying to get better.
- Changes to your gut microbiome – It’ll favour the “bad” bacteria…
The mood effect
There’s research piling up that points to a strong relationship between your gut, mood, and even behaviour disorders that include anxiety, depression, and autism.
One very (nerdy and) interesting study found that transferring the poop bacteria of depressed people to rats led to depressed behaviour in the rats (can rats be depressed?). Gross, I know. But thought provoking, none the less.
There was another study done on mice (mice aren’t the same as humans, we know) that found when anxious mice were given gut bacteria from mice who were not anxious, experienced less anxiety and changes in their brain chemistry.
3rd and last study, 40 people who had major depressive disorder were divided into two groups. One group was given a certain set of probiotics and the other a placebo. The group that took the probiotics experienced a decrease in depression symptoms compared to the placebo group.
Weight and your gut ecosystem
Lean people and obese people have different microbiomes.
There are several studies in animals and some in humans that conclude this. Scientists transferred bacteria from the guts of two strains of mice, one that is obese and the other lean into a third lean strain raised from birth without gut bacteria. What they found was when they introduced the bacteria from the obese mice, the germ-free mice became fat. When they introduced the lean bacteria, they were kept lean.
There was another study of twins, who were both lean or obese, researchers found the gut community in lean people to be brimming with many different species but the ecosystem in the obese people were less diverse.
These leaner individuals tended to have a wider variety of bacteroidetes, a large group of microbes that specialize in breaking down bulky plant starches and fibres into short molecules that the body use as a source of energy.
What do you eat for gut health?
Cleaning up your diet is the most powerful way to “starve” the bad bacteria and feed the good bacteria. Each diet should be set to a specific person, so hiring a professional is a great way to do that to get you on a faster track to better health.
There are a few basic tips that can help out though:
Sugar detox – Those “bad bacteria” really love sugar and feed off of it. Excess sugars seem to be a big player in bacterial overgrowths, SIBO and candida.
Cut out sugar, low-nutrient carbs, alcohol, dairy, and the always read the labels. There are a lot of hidden sugars in packaged foods labelled as something else. Depending on your ecosystem and the amount of change you make, you may get a “detox” effect with intense cravings or headaches. A lot of your cravings are coming from these bacteria
Collagen – We really like the benefits of bone broth with how easy it is and the cost factor. Don’t forget those organ meats, they pack a punch. If you’re going to use a collagen supplement, look for a quality one that’s hydrolyzed that you can put into smoothies and soups.
Prebiotics – Prebiotics are the food that the good bacteria feed on. This is typically done with fibre, we really like soluble fibre for this. You can get that fibre from vegetables like sweet potatoes, asparagus, artichokes, brussel sprouts, and leeks.
You may want to look into resistant starches, plantain and green banana flour, cooked potatoes that are reheated, and potato starch. Start slow with this though, it doesn’t agree with everyone.
Choose a variety of foods –
Just like a variety of bacteria are good for health, so is a variety of foods. One of the biggest things that we teach our clients is to have variety.
Focus on different vegetables, high quality proteins, and omega-3 fats.
One tip for getting a variety of vegetables is to buy something new that you haven’t tried that’s on sale. You don’t need to know how to cook it when you buy it, you can google recipes for it after.
Plus when you buy it on sale, you don’t have the regret of paying full price if you don’t like it. If you like it, go buy more… it’s on sale :p
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Are you tired of feeling less than amazing? Having someone in your corner can drastically cut down the time you spend feeling like garbage. It’s time to take back your health and start living. Message us to see if we can help