Did you know that the bacteria that live in our bodies can give us precious information about our current health state and the probability of developing certain medical conditions, from asthma to coronary diseases, and even cancer? I recently took a gut microbiome test, and the results were eye-opening. 🤯 Let’s explore the magic world of gut microbiome testing, and why you should consider taking a test too!
At the end of the article, a sneaky discount on the gut test I used from Biomesight. 🤫
🧫 Understanding the Microbiome
First off, let’s chat about what the microbiome actually is. The simplest way to describe it is a massive community of microorganisms (bacteria, fungi, and viruses) that reside in the digestive tract, primarily in the large intestine. These tiny residents play a vital role in our health, influencing everything from digestion to our immune system, and even our mental health!
📌Functions of the Gut Microbiome
Here is everything the gut microbiome can do for us:
- Digestion and Nutrient Absorption: The microbiome plays a pivotal role in breaking down complex carbohydrates and fiber, aiding in digestion and nutrient absorption. Some gut bacteria produce enzymes that our own bodies can’t, facilitating the breakdown of food.
- Immune System Support: The gut houses a significant portion of the body’s immune system. It helps distinguish between harmful pathogens and beneficial microbes. A diverse microbiome can help regulate the immune response and protect against infections.
- Synthesis of Vitamins and Short-Chain Fatty Acids: Certain bacteria in the gut produce vitamins (like B vitamins) and short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) such as butyrate, acetate, and propionate. SCFAs play a pivotal role in maintaining gut health and can even influence the immune system.
- Hormone Regulation: The gut microbiome is involved in the regulation of hormones like leptin (related to appetite and metabolism) and serotonin (affecting mood and mental health).
- Metabolism and Weight Regulation: Research suggests that the gut microbiome can influence weight and metabolism. In particular, a balanced microbiome helps with the breakdown of dietary fat and the regulation of energy storage, thus preventing obesity and other weight-related issues.
- Brain-Gut Communication: The gut-brain axis represents the communication between the gut and the brain. Microbes in the gut produce neuroactive compounds that can affect brain function and mental health. This connection has implications for mood disorders and cognitive health.
- Anti-Inflammatory Functions: A well-balanced microbiome can help reduce inflammation in the gut and throughout the body. In turn, chronic inflammation is associated with various health issues, including autoimmune diseases, heart diseases, and even cancer.
- Detoxification: Some gut bacteria help with the detoxification of harmful compounds and chemicals, promoting overall health.
Gut Microbiome Testing: how does it work? 🔍
Gut microbiome testing, also known as microbiome sequencing or analysis, is a process that allows you to understand the composition of microorganisms in your digestive tract. Usually, it involves the filling out of an in-depth survey and the collection of a stool sample. The genetic material (DNA) of the microorganisms in the gut that has been collected in the sample will then be analyzed using sophisticated software and databases. This analysis identifies the types and quantities of different microorganisms (bacteria, viruses, fungi) that are abundant or lacking in your gut.
Based on this data, we can then tweak our nutrition and supplementation to adjust any imbalances in the gut, have a faster digestion, and feel overall more energized! The suggestion is to work with a healthcare provider or nutritionist to develop an action plan involving lifestyle and nutrition changes, and possibly the use of probiotics or prebiotics.
It’s important to note that the results from gut microbiome testing are usually not diagnostic of specific diseases but can provide insights into the composition and balance of your gut microbiome. As the field of microbiome research is still evolving, the clinical interpretation and practical application of these tests are continuously improving.
My Gut Microbiome Test: what I discovered!💣
Now, let’s jump to the part you were all waiting for: the results of the gut microbiome test I did a couple of weeks ago! For the past few months, I have been feeling quite tired and inflamed, so I decided to take matters into my own hands and investigate further! Luckily, at that time Biomesigh reached out to me and asked if I wanted to try their renowned gut testing kit.
Biomesigh is a revolutionary company with the aim of helping people figure out what is going on inside their bodies, and address any gut microbiome imbalances via personalized nutritional advice and supplementation.
When I got my microbiome test results, I discovered that I have a high percentage of a bacteria called Ruminococcus. While it’s generally a friendly resident of our gut, higher levels have been linked to various health conditions, including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. 🤔The recommendation was to incorporate a wide variety of high-fiber foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, and limit starchy foods to limit the overgrowth of this bacterium.
On the flip side, my Veillonella levels were slightly low. This is a bacterium that’s been associated with improved exercise performance by converting lactate, produced during exercise, into a beneficial compound called propionate. So, a little boost here could potentially up my fitness game! To bring up my Veillonella levels, I should include more healthy fats in my diet, such as avocados, seeds, and nuts, to promote a more diverse gut microbiome, and consume foods rich in prebiotics, like garlic, onions, leeks, and asparagus.
In addition, I should consider taking a probiotic supplement like Bifidobacterium longum BB536 and Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001 to balance out respectively my Veillonella and Rumminococcus levels.
What All of This Means for My Health Journey 🔄
The exciting (and somewhat daunting) thing about diving into my microbiome was understanding how these tiny creatures were impacting my overall health and well-being. In turn, this is helping me to be more mindful of how nutrition and lifestyle habits can impact my body and mind. I still have a long way to go and lots to learn, but it’s truly like having a secret cheat sheet to optimize my health from the inside out!
I’m sharing my story not as a one-size-fits-all guide, but as a glimpse into the possibilities that exploring your microbiome can unlock. Always remember: our bodies are unique, and so our health journeys should be too. Always consult with healthcare professionals before making any changes to your diet or health regimen.