FEBRUARY 21, 2018

Gut health is something that seems to be talked about everywhere. The health of our guts is being linked to almost every health condition there is.

Words like microbiome are thrown around with most of us not sure what this is and why it’s important.

The term gut microbiome basically refers to the microorganisms that live in our gut. Gut is not a crude word it is another way to say gastrointestinal tract. The microorganisms (mainly bacteria) that live in our gastrointestinal tract help us digest food and absorb the things we need to absorb from our food. Everyone has a different gut microbiome though there will be some similarities.

If you have an unhealthy microbiome your levels of good and bad bacteria will be out of whack. This can occur following a course of antibiotics, from eating badly, due to stress and due to illness.

An unhealthy gut can lead to a weak gut lining. This enables bacteria to escape from the gut and get in to the blood stream. This is turn leads to a response from our immune system. The resulting inflammation is a large factor in the potential cause of many health conditions.

Our gut microbiome starts to develop while we are in the womb. Many factors affect the types of microorganisms a person has such as whether they were born by vaginal or caesarean, whether they were breast or bottle fed and the health of their parents.

These factors are not something that we can change now. What we can change is our exercise habits, eating habits and use of antibiotics. (Incidentally antibiotic means anti living thing). Regular exercise is important. Eating a diet that contains a wide range of foods is the best way to improve the gut microbiome to have a wider range of microorganisms. Limiting the use of antibiotics to situations where they are absolutely necessary is an important way to sustain the health of our gut microbiome.