Why it is so great to get your Gut tested.

With advances in pathology and collection facilities, getting intimate and specific with the bugs on our insides is becoming more available, accessible and common. The gut microbiome is strongly linked to our brain, immune system and greatly impacts our overall health. The awareness of what is actually happening inside our very own ecosystem is yielding greater results from targeted specific interventions.   

What is your gut microbiome?

The subject of extensive research, in short, the gut microbiome consists of all the bacteria, fungi, parasites and all other living things in your intestines, which act as another organ. The associated microbes in our digestive tract, outnumbers our own cells by a factor of 10! The gut-brain connection is a bidirectional pathway where the gut and the brain communicate to one another and command functions such as peristalsis and immunity functions via the vagus nerve also affecting thoughts and feelings. The gut microbiota also communicates with our neural, hormonal and immunological pathways and plays a major role on regulating metabolism.

Because we are constantly exposed.

Our gut microbiome is constantly and continuously adapting to our environment, since the day we are born, even as we either pass through the vaginal canal (or not). The food we eat, the air we breathe, the liquids we consume and the materials were exposed to. Even what we put on our skin impacts the bugs within our digestive tract. This information is especially important to note for those suffering from, immune dysfunction, all autoimmune disorders, those with weight gain and/or depression, Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, allergies or food intolerance’s. Diet, lifestyle adaptations, nutritional and bacterial rebalancing can yield some profoundly positive results.

Why it is important to get specific.

Navigating health trends is crucial as miss-information, marketing and eating out, are all impacting the decisions we make about our precious health. It is paramount to seek advice before taking any of the readily available selection of supplements, vitamins, minerals or products as they affect our microbiome in some way. Coffee, tea, alcohol, sugar, processed food and artificial ingredients all add up to how we feel too. Trends like Kombucha, fermented foods like kimchi or sauracrout feed certain species. A diet dominated by certain macronutrients such as; refined or processed carbohydrates, sugars and fruits or “diet” fillers can be adding to ailments as opposed to restoring health and healing.

 

Case Study:

Amy Benn” had experienced Crohns Disease from age 14. Although in remission, she still required a large dose of an immunosuppressant known as Azathioprine, which is also used post organ transplantation, and Pregnancy Category D (meaning unknown damage to the featus). After testing her gut microbiome, she had extensive high levels of a bacterial overgrowth of citrobacter, klebsiella pneumoniae, morganella morganii and haemolytic streptococcus with low levels of beneficial, protective flora such as lactobacilli and bifido bacterium strains.  Once corrected with antimicrobial and probiotic therapy and changes in diet. Which included, incorporating additional fats and completely restricting processed sugars and starch for a period of time. She swapped Night shift, coffee, alcohol and her beloved body-building competitions for a balanced lifestyle including running outside, weights, yoga and meditation. She returned 20 months later, medication free, in remission and after a period of restoring the gut microbiome she enjoys thriving health.

Written by Amy Benn in collaboration with Dr. Natasja Fox

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