Written by Melbourne Naturopath Bree Jenner
“There are 10 times more bacteria in the digestive system than there are cells in the body”
The microbiome describes the environment within a particular area or system of the body. The most talked about microbiome is that of the gut environment, however research has been building around the oral, skin, vaginal and breast microbiome, and their role in our health.
You could think of it in terms of our body being represented as planet earth, with each environment as a continent. Certain flora and fauna flourish best under the specific weather patterns, elevation, and temperature, and are impacted by their own set of external factors. Other continents also influence these environments, how they interact with each other and how they react to new elements. Our microbiome is similar, in that it flourishes under specific temperatures, acidity levels and external factors such as the food we eat, medications and even how we sleep.
Did you know, that the bacteria in the average human digestive system comprise some four hundred different species; they outnumber the total number of cells in the body by a factor of ten and can weigh up to three kilograms!
As naturopaths, our focus often takes us to the microbiome of the gut. The ever-growing pool of research links the gut microbiome with the health of our digestion and how we absorb our nutrients, our mental health and our immune function.
“Over 90% of the serotonin we produce is from within the gut”
We can notice how our digestive system is intricately linked with our brain and emotions in moments where we feel knots in our stomach with fear or anxiety, butterflies in our stomach when we fall in love. Research has shown that people experiencing depression have common differences within their gut flora. People suffering symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome can often have tendencies towards low mood or anxiety.
Our gut microbiome impacts so many areas of our health. If you’re experiencing any digestive symptoms, reactivity to food, seasonal allergies, have noticed mood changes, or are regularly unwell, head to the Book an Appointment page and book in for a Complimentary Chat with a Naturopathic Practitioner, or an Initial Consultation, and we can chat with you about how we can help you investigate the underlying cause of your symptoms and find your balance.
Metagenics seminar series Mastering the Microbiome July-August 2017
Luke K Ursell, Jessica L Metcalf, Laura Wegener Parfrey, and Rob Knight, Defining the Human Microbiome. Nutr Rev. 2012 Aug; 70(Suppl 1): S38–S44
Baker JM, Al-Nakkash L, Herbst-Kralovetz MM., Estrogen-gut microbiome axis: Physiological and clinical implications. Maturitas. 2017 Sep;103:45-53
Sirisinha S., The potential impact of gut microbiota on your health:Current status and future challenges. Asian Pac J Allergy Immunol. 2016 Dec;34(4):249-264.
Baker JM, Al-Nakkash L, Herbst-Kralovetz MM, Estrogen-gut microbiome axis: Physiological and clinical implications. Maturitas. 2017 Sep;103:45-53
For more information or for a tailored personalized plan chat to one of our Naturopaths
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