According to Hippocrates: “All diseases begin in the gut”! Today, modern science agree. Believe it or not, but our intestines, inhabited by thousands of species of microbes including bacteria, viruses, fungi, and archaea - is the real foundation of our health. It is called gut microbiome, and weighs about a whooping 2kg! The bacteria in the microbiome help digest our food, regulate our immune system and protect against other bacteria that cause disease.
Let’s have a look at how our microbiome is connected to many of the important functions of our body!
80% of our immune system is in our gut
According to scientists up to 80% of our immune cells are located in the gut. In addition to that, the beneficial bacteria of the microbiome itself play a vital role in our immune development. They create a barrier that guards from harmful toxins to enter the body. They are also responsible for keeping track of good/bad bacteria ratio and sort of “educate” our immune system to respond correctly to various kinds of infections and allergens.
Microbiome supports healthy weight
According to the latest scientific research, one of the most common reason for gaining excess weight is the imbalance of the intestinal microflora. Healthy and diverse microbiome ensures good metabolism, helps regulate blood sugar level, accommodates the absorption of nutrients from food, and minimizes internal inflammations in the body.
Microbiome is our second brain
Did you know that 95% of the most important neurotransmitters and mood hormone serotonin is produced in the gut, not the brain? That's why it's important to keep the gut happy, so it can conduct these important functions with ease. On the contrary, in case of imbalances like for example yeast overgrowth, anxiety and depression can be triggered. In addition to affecting our mood, the bacteria in the microbiome affects the entire spectrum of mental functions, including focus and memory.
Microbiome supports sound sleep
The microbiome is connected to the brain through the so-called vagus nerve, which is responsible to bring sensory information back to the brain from the ear, tongue, pharynx, and larynx. This compound also affects our circadian rhythms - a natural, internal process that regulates the sleep–wake cycle. Thus, healthy microbiome rewards us with sound and healthy sleep. Important to mention, it also has a reverse affect – neglecting your natural sleep pattern can negatively affect the state of your intestinal microflora.
Healthy microbiome = Glowing skin
A healthy gut is the key for healthy and glowing skin. Skin conditions like eczema may be related to a damaged gut. Inflammation in the gut caused by a poor diet or food allergies may cause increased “leaking” of certain proteins out into the body, which can in turn irritate the skin and cause conditions such as eczema or acne.
Healthy microbiome supports better nutrients absorption
Most know about our guts ability to absorb and distribute beneficial nutrients like vitamins, minerals and antioxidants for their intended purposes in our body. But did you know that it can also synthesise important nutrients on its own. Science acknowledges that bacteria in the microbiome produces vitamins including B vitamins B12, thiamine and riboflavin, which strengthens the body, and Vitamin K, which is needed for blood circulation and blood coagulation.
A healthy microbiome decreases risk of cancer
A healthy microbiome can protect from several diseases, including the development of cancer. A recent study published by the University of North Carolina revealed the contrary; that intestinal inflammation, caused for example by a poor diet, leads to a decrease in the number of beneficial microorganisms in the gut microbiome.This greatly weakens the functions of the microbiome, and can lead to the proliferation of colonies of pathogenic bacteria E. coli and, as a result, to the development of intestinal cancer.
So, how do we take care of our microbiome?
The empowering fact is that keeping a balanced microbiome doesn't need to be hard. Clean, natural foods, movement and rest all supports a balanced gut. Also remember to only take antibiotics when it's a real necessity, minimise junk food, added sugars, processed food, destress and make sure you prioritise your sleep. Microbiome thrives on fiber, so adding high fiber plant foods such as greens, vegetables and fruits, as well as fermented foods will be extremely beneficial.
Inika Superfoods Team