How do we know if our biome is healthy or not? This is a question some people never ask or think about until there is a problem with the gut or they encounter a huge amount of stress in their life. Doctor Joel Rosen talks about the requirements for a healthy biome and how we can disrupt this process when stress comes knocking at our door.
What Kind of Requirements Are Needed For A Healthy Biome
A healthy biome consists of a lot of diversity of healthy flora and a commensal population of healthy bacteria including prebiotics and probiotics. For example, the human genome study, is learning a lot about all of these new microbes that have never been investigated, until now. We’ve started to see that the use of antibiotics caused a lot of damage and people didn’t necessarily return to good health after finishing the doses. They still had an overgrowth of fungal or yeast in the body. Now we’re learning that much of that overgrowth is a protective mechanism for heavy metals, oxalates, or other harmful bacteria.
We’re learning we need to have synergism in the microbiome. In order to create this synergism, we need to have the right amount of diverse foods such as healthy fiber, root vegetables, prebiotics, natures probiotics like kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, and kimchi. Many people are challenged with some of these diverse foods when they start consuming them due to gas and stomach challenges. Starting slow and maybe cooking them a bit can help to introduce these diverse foods to sensitive guts. Adding a variety of plants into the diet and rotating them each week can help start the inoculation process of prebiotics, probiotics, and postbiotics in the gut. We’re finding that postbiotics, which are immobilized probiotics, which when ingested, may have the ability to restore intestinal homeostasis in a similar manner to probiotics. Postbiotics release short-chain fatty acids that create the first line of defense in our immune system.
How Does Stress Disrupt The Microbiome? Is There A Stress Gut Correlation?
Stress can definitely have an impact on the microbiome. Studies are now showing how the innate immune system is the first line of defense. The innate immune system focuses on secretions in the mucous membranes from the mouth to the anus which is lined with secretory IGA (immunoglobulins). When Dr. Rosen looks at his patient’s test results and finds someone with high cortisol levels which can activate the HPA axis, then this could be the result of someone having low adrenal status and low secretory IGA.
So yes, stress is a key factor, especially if it’s prolonged, and the diet is void of healthy flora, beneficial bacteria and low secretion of IGA. At this point, if not corrected then this could lead to burnout and or these tissues can start to turn against each other to survive.
Some Things We Can Do To Have A Healthy Biome Before Becoming Pregnant And During Pregnancy
He says these would be much of the same things we’ve talked about already can be applied here to the pregnant mother as well. Eating diverse foods is key to making sure they’re eating a variety of fruits and vegetables from the rainbow for vitamins and minerals. He recommends using common sense eating, not filling up on the processed, packaged, fast food and foods devoid of valuable nutrients. The idea is to have a healthy harmonizing environment like nature intended. Also, if possible the goal should be a natural birth, breastfeeding, and full-term pregnancy. Eliminate stress as much a possible by getting out and walking and spending some quiet time each day.
Some Healthy Habits For All Of Us During These Stressful Times to Create And Maintain A Healthy Biome.
We do not need to complicate things and add more stress to our life says Dr. Joel. Simple things like being mindful eaters can work wonders. Find a balance with food and ask the question am I eating because I’m hungry or because I’m bored? Is this hunger physiological or psychological? He says if we were to wear a glucose meter throughout the day and check it often we might see a pattern in our eating, in other words, what does my glucose number say about what I’m eating?
He recommends some form of exercise is another thing we can do to help eliminate stress and work off some of the excess calories we might be taking in from sitting all day or overeating. Taking a walk after a meal can help engage the insulin receptors to be more sensitive to glucose and insulin spikes.
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