Does Your Gut Microbiome Need Attention?
The Gut Feeling is Real!
Have you ever felt butterflies in your stomach? Or do you rely on your “gut instinct” to make decisions? That is your gut microbiome communicating with you. The gut brain connection is a real thing. If this constant, two-way communication channel is out of sync, it can trigger digestive or other health related issues. This connection can be easily disrupted by different factors such as stress, antibiotics, and poor diet. Research shows when the gut-brain axis becomes disrupted, weight gain is more likely to happen because of changes to our metabolism and eating behaviors all together. An out of balance microbiome may also cause inflammation and chronic disease.
What is The Gut Microbiome?
The gut microbiome is made up of trillions of microorganisms that live in our digestive tract. Most of the microbes in your intestines are found in a “pocket” of your large intestine called the cecum, and they are referred to as the gut microbiome. The gut microbes are instrumental in maintaining immune and metabolic balance and protecting against illness. An imbalance of healthy and unhealthy microbes is known as gut dysbiosis which plays a role in weight gain and chronic disease, as it manifests symptoms of GI issues, gastroparesis, and chronic inflammation.
Our gut microbiome is created at birth. In fact, infants born vaginally have a gut microbiota that resembles that of the mother’s vagina, whereas infants delivered via Cesarean section harbor microbial communities typically found on the human skin causing less diversity. The diversity of the gut microbiome (how many different types of bacteria exist) is important because it makes your immune system stronger and more stable along with other benefits such as promoting better sleep, influencing mood, lowering inflammation, and providing more energy. Low diversity in the gut microbiome can lead to chronic disease, weight gain, and obesity.
Finally, the microbiome can also affect other areas of our body such as our overall gut health, our endocrine system, and our psychological health. The microbiome is seen to play a role in intestinal diseases like irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease because of the affect it has on overall gut health. There is also a direct link between gut bacteria and hormones. For example, estrogen levels can influence the composition of these bacteria found in the digestive tract. Studies also show that the diversity of the bacteria in the gut has a significant impact on mental health and the overall function of the nervous system.
The Gut Microbiome and The Standard American Diet
One of the things that often goes overlooked is how the Standard American Diet affects our gut health. 60% of our calories come from highly processed foods. These foods have been found to damage our gut microbiome causing higher rates of depression, obesity, and overall disease. Also, The Standard American Diet is low in dietary fiber. Our gut bacteria utilize fiber as fuel. In this process, they release something called short chain fatty acids (SCFA). SCFA’s are the most powerful anti-inflammatory compound in the body. This helps to improve gut health, mood, and overall health.
How Do You Know Your Gut Microbiome Needs Attention?
If you are experiencing any of the following, Reset Your Gut Microbiome program might be right for you:
- Chronic GI symptoms such as bloating, constipation, diarrhea, nausea, gas, IBS symptoms, feeling full several hours after a meal, chronic stomach pain.
- SIBO before or after antibiotics
- Weight gain, inability to lose weight
- Chronic inflammation
- Chronic GI symptoms with a normal colonoscopy.
Discovering the makeup of the gut microbiome can help you restore the equilibrium of the gut through proper nutrition, supplementation, and lifestyle factors.
- An initial nutrition assessment and testing.
- 60 minute follow up to review results, with specific food, nutrient, and lifestyle recommendations.
- 6- 30 minute follow up appointments.
- Appointments are to monitor symptoms, implement changes in stages, provide accountability and support for sustained results.
In the meantime, here are some helpful tips that help support the gut microbiome:
- Probiotics- sauerkraut, kefir, yogurt, kimchi, and other fermented foods
- High Fiber Foods (Prebiotics)- fruits, vegetables, wholegrains, seeds, nuts, legumes
- Omega-3 Fatty acids- fresh-water fish (salmon), nuts and seeds especially flax seed and walnuts
- Polyphenols- fruits, vegetables, green tea, and olive oil
- Working with a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
Benefits of working with a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
Our current healthcare system is most often reactive when it comes to nutrition and our health, and in turn, we only think about it when disease takes over. We often feel uneasy about making changes to our diet or having to avoid foods we enjoy. Change involves commitment and with the busy lives we lead it can get moved to the bottom of our list of “to do’s”. These changes are easier than you think when you work with a qualified professional, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.
A Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) is the food and nutrition expert. Our expertise is to translate the science of nutrition into practical solutions on your plate that help you gain control of your health. We give you “a compassionate and personalized experience”, building a program for you not fitting you into “a diet”.
Medical nutrition therapy provided by an RDN is typically a covered benefit on your health insurance plan. There is no silver bullet for any one disease or for overall health, but remember nutrition is foundational to health and immunity. Don’t ever underestimate your power to transform and restore your health. Bon Appetit!
If you are interested in working with a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist to improve your health, contact us at The Nutrition Professionals at 480-294-6543.