Woman hands making a heart shape on her stomach

Mining the Micro-biome: From Gut Health to Whole Person Health

The frontier of the micro-biome provides an interesting area of exploration and new avenues to treat common conditions. This virtual organ inside an organ is metabolically active in its own right. We harbor 10x more microbial DNA than human DNA which has fascinating implications on health. The micro-biome influences health through CYP450 detox pathways, by regulating endocrine function and reducing loads of oxidative stress. It is a critical player in metabolism and mental health.

What foods and dietary interventions feed your micro-biome by acting as prebiotics?

Prebiotics are foods that act as food for human microflora1They are typically high-fiber foods that promote the growth of beneficial microbes in the gut2. Here are some foods that act as prebiotics:

  • Whole grains
  • Bananas
  • Greens
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Soybeans
  • Artichokes

In addition, probiotics and prebiotics are added to some foods and available as dietary supplements13.

Our gut has more microbes than there are stars in the Milky Way. An in depth understanding of their interaction with our own genetic code can begin to unravel why certain people get distinct responses from similar interventions, and gives us a route for making our therapies work better, with fewer side effects.

How can we improve our microbiome health? One way is to take a good quality probiotic.

Probiotics promote a healthy balance of gut bacteria and have been linked to a wide range of health benefits such as12:

  • Weight loss.
  • Digestive health.
  • Immune function.
  • Mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, stress and memory.
  • Protection against hostile bacteria to prevent infection.
  • Improved digestion and absorption of food and nutrients.

Postbiotics are bioactive compounds or byproducts produced by probiotic bacteria when they feed on prebiotic food or fiber in your gut1They are not live microorganisms, but they offer various health benefits to your body and your microbiome12Postbiotics include substances like vitamins B and K, amino acids, peptides, and short-chain fatty acids13.

Taking care to eat a healthy diet with lots of fiber and avoiding toxins provides the prebiotics that our healthy gut flora consume. Supplementing with a probiotic helps ensure that our microbiome is robust and varied, If it is, we’ll see the necessary production of postbiotics to further boost our health.