• Brian Dooreck, MD

Your Microbiome and You | Part 1 of 2

Updated: Aug 9



Blog based on Time's "What is Gut Health? Here's Everything You Need to Know About Gut Health" | https://time.com/5556071/gut-health-diet

What is the gastrointestinal (GI) tract or system?


The gastrointestinal (GI) tract does many things. It transports food, converts food into energy and nutrients, helps eliminate waste, and allows us to live. Pretty plain and simple, right? However, there is more to it. It is now known, that the GI tract or GI system involves many components of immunity, emotional stress, chronic illness, and even cancer.


What is the Microbiome?


The bacteria and microorganisms that make up the stomach and small intestines are called the microbiome. It is the "gut bacteria" in simpler terms. We can refer to it also as "gut health."


Bacteria and microorganisms that make up the stomach and small intestines are called the microbiome.

Fact


There are trillions (read: not millions, not billions, but trillions) of bacteria in the GI tract. There are also viruses, fungi, and non-bacterial microbes.




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Bacteria in the GI Tract


The GI system is involved in more than just processing food. It is involved in, and responsible for a major part of our overall well-being. Our environments, food, and even behaviors influence it.


Everyone's Microbiome is Unique


Although everyone has a unique microbiome, there are underlying similarities, such as having a wide array of diverse organisms. The less diverse your microbiome, the less "healthy" it is considered.


If there is less diversity in your microbiome, then the more bacteria that are "associated" with the disease are seen in it. The direct relation of the disease itself and bacteria is still evolving and not yet defined.


The less diverse your microbiome, the less "healthy" it is considered.

Bacteria and Inflammation


Bacteria have a role in inflammation. Some bacteria promote inflammation and cause it. Some bacteria protect against inflammation. This balancing act of "good" and "bad" bacteria serves us well to keep the inflammatory bacteria in check.


If this balance is off-set, then the inflammatory bacteria can produce metabolites and cause an inflammatory response. These metabolites can then cross the lining of the gut, and enter into the bloodstream, thus spreading inflammation throughout the body.


Bacteria and Disease


Specific bacteria of the gut have been linked to the following:


  • Decreased immunity

  • Asthma

  • Allergies

  • Diabetes

  • Heart disease

  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)

  • Cancers

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Schizophrenia

  • Dementia

  • Obesity


What causes your microbiome?


Specific bacteria of the gut have been linked to the following:


  • Food you eat

  • Vaginal delivery versus C-section

  • Breastfeeding

  • Environment

  • Emotional stress

  • Medications


A vaginal birth leads to a more diverse microbiome, then delivery via Cesarean section. This is because the birth canal provides exposure to a wide pool of diverse bacteria.


Breastfeeding, though somewhat familiar mechanisms, has a proven benefit on many levels. One also includes benefiting gut bacteria.


The cleaner the society, the less exposure as a child to germs and bacteria that determine the microbiome and a healthy gut.



The established and evolving relationship between bacteria and the "gut-brain axis" is being researched. The two-way signals from the gut affect neurotransmitters in the brain. Thus, one's microbiome and mental state are suggested to have an influence on each other.


The less diverse your microbiome, the less "healthy" it is considered.


Medications and my microbiome


Many medications affect the microbiome. The most common drugs that alter the gut are antibiotics. The issue is that they not only kill harmful bacteria, but they alter the bacterial flora by killing "good" bacteria. Thus, antibiotics, although life-saving medications, can lead to allergies, other infections, or motility issues. The overuse of "casual" use of antibiotics should be avoided for this reason, not to mention the development of antibiotic resistance.


Overuse or "casual" use of antibiotics should be avoided.

Interesting to you?


What are the symptoms and how to treat your microbiome? This continues in my next blog post as Part 2.


Personally


I eat a high fiber, mostly plant-based 🌱 diet, no red meat, drink 4 liters of water a day, exercise, and am focused on keeping nutrition simple. I am sharing what works for me and what I routinely recommend to my patients.


"Balance. Portion control. Keep nutrition simple. Eat Smart. Eat Healthy. 🥬 🌾 🥦"

Need a life "reset"?
By application only.
Click for Executive Health Coaching 🌱 with Dr. Dooreck.

🥬 Connect with Dr. Dooreck on LinkedIn where he focuses his sharing on Health, Diet, Nutrition, Exercise, Lifestyle, and Balance.



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