Humans have a symbiotic relationship with that healthy gut bacteria. You need it to stay healthy, and the bacteria need you to provide food.
But here’s the thing: the microbiome in your gut can go out of whack. Imbalances are a significant problem, and they can wreak havoc on your system. Those regular bouts of diarrhea and upset stomach? There’s a good chance that it’s because there’s an imbalance with the bacteria in your gut microbiome.
Scientists have found plenty of evidence to link gut imbalances to obesity, low blood sugar, low energy levels, and a host of other health problems. It’s no joke! That bacteria needs to stay balanced to keep you healthy.
But why do imbalances occur? Your gut microbiome is pretty delicate, and it doesn’t take much to throw things off. Typical factors for instability include things like unhealthy sleeping habits, a poor diet, and a lack of exercise.
Antibiotics can kill beneficial bacteria, too. As a result, many people suffer from imbalances after getting sick, undergoing surgery, or taking strong medications. Of course, illnesses and chronic conditions can cause microbiome issues, too.
The critical takeaway here is that your digestive system harbors tons of healthy bacteria that support your overall health. When that delicate microbiome gets thrown off, you need probiotics to make things right again!
A daily OTC probiotic supplement makes a world of difference. These products come in many forms. You might see them as capsules, pills, or powders you can add to your food. Probiotic supplements like Synogut mimic the natural healthy bacteria you find in foods like yogurt and kombucha.
It’s a great way to keep your system in check and support your health!
What are Microbes?
They are too small to see with the naked eye. There are about a hundred trillion in and on our bodies at any given time, weighing in at nearly three pounds. They outnumber human cells 10 to one and play a role in nearly all aspects of our health.
They are microbes—single-celled organisms that In recent years scientists have learned that everything from allergies and asthma to obesity and acne is linked to microbes, as well as autism, heart disease and colon cancer.
What benefits can we obtain by studying the human microbiome more closely–both obvious and not so obvious?
We’re just starting to understand the microbial side of ourselves. In addition to the obvious, like understanding how microbes help us digest food, the subtle impacts of our microbes include interactions with our immune system, producing vitamins and other beneficial compounds, breaking down or reactivating drugs, and altering risk of diseases ranging from inflammatory bowel disease to rheumatoid arthritis—and, in mouse models, even depression and autism. The ability to understand and control our microbes could have spectacular health benefits, although the research is still in its early stages.
What are some recent developments that might not have made it into the book, or that are just on the horizon?
Since the book was finalized, microbes have been linked to many additional conditions including development of insulin resistance from artificial sweeteners and circadian disruption in jet lag. Other recent developments are the ability to assemble large numbers of whole genomes from so-called “shotgun metagenomic” sequencing—personalized culture collections that allow you to collect and sequence hundreds of strains from an individual person, “roboguts” and “organoids” that allow you to simulate the human intestine, and better predictions about who is susceptible to particular illnesses due to the microbiome.
How do every day vices–cigarettes, soda, alcohol, a bag of chips–affect the microbial community?
Cigarettes decrease microbial diversity throughout the body, including in the mouth, lungs and stool. Whether harmful bacteria specifically are increased is still a matter of controversy. Soda, both the sugary and the artificial sweetener kinds, increase the abundance of bad bacteria in the gut that increase insulin resistance (and this can be transmitted from one mouse to another by transmitting the microbiome.)
Alcohol in moderation increases the diversity of the microbiome, which is probably good; in excess, it leads to microbial changes that can lead to fatty liver disease and cirrhosis. Most of the data we have on a bag of chips is unpublished and in pigs, not humans, but it is true that from an epidemiological perspective chips and fries are the single food you can eat that most promotes weight gain. Whether the gut microbes contribute to this specifically is still under investigation.
Explain the difference between good bacteria and bad bacteria, and how we can increase the good and limit the bad?
This is a very complex question that scientists are just beginning to untangle. Whether a particular bacterial species is good or bad probably depends on your diet, your lifestyle, what other bacteria you have living inside you, and perhaps your own genome. Even bacteria we think of as pathogens, such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Staphylococcus aureus (“staph”) infect many people who remain perfectly healthy. Consequently, far more research is required to understand which principles are general across many people, and which are more individual-specific. This is why supplements for gut health, digestion intestinal wellness are so important.