It’s likely that you’ve recently heard about the “microbiome” for the first time and you may have some questions about what it is and why it’s such a big deal. Research is uncovering that our microbiomes are extremely important to not just our digestion but our overall health and wellness.
But what is it? In short, your microbiome is the combined collection of genes within both the good and bad micro-organisms that live in your body. You may be shocked to learn that research has linked the gut microbiome to mood, weight, heart health and much more. In this article, we’ll discover 5 surprising benefits of having a healthy gut microbiome and how to achieve that in your own body.
Ways That a Healthy Microbiome Benefits You
- Supports digestion: A healthy microbiome is made up of diverse micro-organisms which include digestion-aiding bacteria. The bacteria help the body to fully digest and utilize the energy and nutrients from complex carbohydrates as well as proteins that you eat.
- Supports a healthy immune system: A healthy gut microbiome acts as the first line of defense against ingested pathogens. It does this by competing against pathogens for nutrients and secreting antimicrobial compounds. These actions support your immune system by making it difficult for pathogens to colonize.
- Supports bone health: Calcium is a nutrient that is essential for bone health, but one that many Americans do not get enough of. A diverse group of bacteria found in a healthy gut microbiome may help to increase the absorption of calcium. Therefore, a healthy gut microbiome may help to support bone health.
- Supports a healthy weight: A small yet significant key to maintaining a healthy weight may be your gut microbiome. A healthy microbiome is characterized by a balance of both good and bad microbes. Studies have linked out-of-balance or non-diverse microbiomes with obesity. Conversely, having a balanced microbiome has been linked to being at a healthy weight.
- Supports brain health: The gut-brain-axis is how our gut speaks with our brain. This communication may be influenced by certain gut micro-organisms that release neurotransmitters—leading to the probability that the gut microbiome may impact mood and cognition.
Achieving a Healthy Microbiome
Our daily lifestyle choices, such as diet and exercise, have a profound effect on our microbiome. Namely, its stability, resiliency and diversity1. Of the three, diversity is what we have the most control over. Achieving a diverse community of micro-organisms helps to ensure that a bad organism doesn’t dominate your gut over the good microbes.
A diverse microbiome includes bacteria and other living micro-organisms like eukaryotes and fungi. A diet that promotes a diverse microbiome is one that includes diverse and fermented foods while staying away from overly processed and high-sugar food. You can also help promote a diverse microbiome by supplementing your diet with high-quality probiotics and omega-3s. High-quality probiotics, like those found in the enzymedica website, help introduce good bacteria into your microbiome. Less is known about omega-3’s influence on the microbiome, but emerging studies show extremely positive results.2
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1 Lozupone, C. A., Stombaugh, J. I., Gordon, J. I., Jansson, J. K., & Knight, R. (2012). Diversity, stability and resilience of the human gut microbiota. Nature, 489(7415), 220.
2 Costantini, L, Molinari, R, Farinon, B, Merendino, N. (2017). Impact of Omega-3 Fatty Acids on the Gut Microbiota. Int J Mol Sci, 18(12), 2645.