The last time we talked about the Human Microbiome Project, research recognized that you can’t just kill all microbes to improve health. The germ theory of disease has come a long way. We, as human beings, are really an ecosystem that involves a complex cooperation between human and microbiome cells. It can be assumed that everything you do to help your microbiome be healthier will repay the favor.
To put it another way, the relationship between the microbiome is not just our body living in tolerance. Instead, the relationship is mutually beneficial. In addition to aiding digestion, the gut microbiota synthesizes vitamins and amino acids, detoxify xenobiotics, and participate in immune system homeostasis and gastrointestinal tract permeability.
For example, gut microbiota are important in the synthesis of essential aromatic amino acids, such as tryptophan, phenylalanine, tyrosine and phenylalanine. While these essential amino acids are needed, our bodies do not synthesize these directly but must get them from external sources. Mainly, our bodies get these from bacteria in our gut or from our diet. Tryptophan is converted into 5-HTP and then serotonin, phenylalanine is converted into tyrosine, tyrosine is converted into either L-DOPA and dopamine or thyroxine (also known as T4 ie thyroid hormone). By this point, you’ve probably noticed this isn’t a trivial part of the balance of our human physiology.
Another important factor of gut microbiota is detox. Most detox of drugs and pesticides takes place in our liver. It seems like the gut microbiota also helps regulate this activity by influencing DNA expression in the liver.
Studies are confirming that people who take probiotics and/or have a probiotic-favorable diet (more on this in a minute) seem to have a more consistent microbiome. That is to say that people who pay attention to their gut flora with supplements and diet have a more stable intestinal ecosystem with more diversity as well as stability.
We would think that by adding a certain strain of bacteria to the probiotic formula, it in turn would help increase the amount of bacteria in the gut of that strain type. The main effect seems to be stabilizing the ecosystem, helping to direct traffic and not increasing the amount of the probiotic bacteria.
What is the best way to keep your gut ecosystem healthy? I refer to gut health but remember that the microbiome is also a component of our skin and mucous membranes that have some sort of access to the external environment.
Like I always say, health is easy, just give your body what it wants and stop giving it what it doesn’t want. Well it is easy in theory at least! In practice, this can take a lifetime to figure out. But here are some general guidelines that I hope are helpful:
- Avoid herbicides, pesticides, and other environmental contaminants. Be careful what you spray around your house. (I have an article in the Resource section at OVitaminPro.com about glyphosates, the active ingredient in Roundup.)
- Watch what is in the food you eat. Try to eat organic and free range as much as you can. This also helps you avoid herbicides and pesticides. Additionally, sugar and alcohol won’t do you any favors in the microbiome department. Finally, avoid antibiotics as much as possible.
- Add some key foods that can help. Yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, miso soup, sour pickles, tempeh, kimchi and kombucha are just a few foods to keep your gut ecosystem healthy. Add a little of one or two of these to your daily routine. Your gut will thank you!
- Take your FloraGenix, Strengtia probiotics or another quality probiotic. Give your gut ecosystem the extra boost with a quality probiotic.
Following these steps should help maximize your human/microbiome ecosystem and you will be rewarded with more robust health. For more on your gut microbiota, Strengtia probiotics, and more check out our other blog posts or visit OVitaminPro.com!