What is the gut microbiome?

Your gut microbiome (also referred to as microbiota) is a complex community of bacteria, viruses, fungi and other microscopic living things, which are commonly referred to as microorganisms, or microbes, for short. Your gut microbiome, much like your finger print, is unique to you.

Most of the microbes in your intestines are found in a “pocket” of your colon, or large intestine called the cecum. Collectively these weigh up to 2kg – that’s heavier than the average human brain!

Although many different types of microbes live inside you, bacteria are the most studied and make up the vast majority. In fact, there are 10 times more bacteria in and on your body than there are human cells. That means you are more bacteria than human!

Why does your gut microbiome matter?

There are up to 1,000 species of bacteria in the human gut microbiome, and each of them plays a different role in your body. Most of them are extremely important for your health, while others may cause disease.

Surprisingly, the metabolic activities of your gut microbiota resemble those of an organ. For this reason, some scientists refer to the gut flora as the “forgotten organ”, recognising how vital these bacteria are as they break down food and toxins, make vitamins, and interact with our immune system.

Your gut microbiota performs many functions that are important for health.

  • It manufactures vitamins, including vitamin K and some of the B vitamins.
  • It turns fibres into short chain fats like butyrate, propionate and acetate, which feed your gut wall and perform many metabolic functions. These fats also stimulate your immune system and strengthen your gut wall. This can help prevent unwanted substances from entering your body and provoking an immune response.
  • It helps the body to digest certain foods that the stomach and small intestine have not been able to digest.
  • It helps with the production of some vitamins (B and K).
  • It helps us combat aggressions from other microorganisms, maintaining the wholeness of the intestinal mucosa.
  • It plays an important role in the immune system, performing a barrier effect.
  • A healthy and balanced gut microbiota is key to ensuring proper digestive functioning.

However, as mentioned, not all organisms in your gut are friendly and studies show that an unbalanced gut microbiota is linked to numerous diseases. These diseases include obesity, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, colorectal cancer, Alzheimer’s and depression.

What influences your gut microbiome?

Although your microbiome is influenced by factors from birth, the composition of our microbiota evolves throughout our entire life, and is the result of different environmental influences.

Given the pressures of a modern lifestyle, it can be a tricky task to maintain a normal, healthy and balanced microbial population in the digestive tract. In fact, most of us have a smaller variety of bacteria in our bodies than our great grandparents did.

From the foods we eat, to the medicines we take, and even increased stress levels our modern lifestyles mean that some of those good bacteria are being killed off.

Additional factors that might make this task even trickier are stress caused by sudden changes in food consumption patterns, exposure to environmental pollutants, extensive travel and unexpected changes in weather.

Therefore, under such adverse circumstances, the harmful bacteria may become predominant (a condition referred to as “bacterial overgrowth”) and create an imbalance or dysbiosis, which may in turn impair normal gut function and lead to various problems, ranging from inefficient digestion, diarrhoea, constipation and flatulence to severe gastro-intestinal disorders.

BIOMED LIVE CULTURES & THE GUT MICROBIOME

Stomach acids and digestive enzymes make the digestive tract a hostile place. Friendly bacteria need to be able to survive and make it to the gut alive in order to have a beneficial effect and thrive.

Our supplement is a synergistic blend of friendly bacteria and digestive nutrients, containing an impressive 2 Billion Colony Forming units (CFU) of the spore forming bacteria Bacillus coagulans MTCC 5856 (LactoSpore®)

Spore forming bacteria offer advantages over non spore forming bacteria:

  • Survives low pH & resists breakdown from digestive enzymes – Spores survive stomach acids and digestive enzymes in the gut, which is not the case for all Lactobacillus species
  • Heat-stable – The spores are heat-stable, so can be stored at room temperature without losing any effectiveness or potency
  • Antibiotic-resistant – Can be taken while using antibiotics to help support your healthy microbiome

The superior bacterial species Bacillus coagulans forms spores, which on activation in the acidic environment of the stomach, germinates and proliferates in the intestine, to produce the favoured L(+) form of lactic acid and effectively prevent the growth of pathogens. Other non spore forming bacteria such as Lactobacillus cannot survive the acidic conditions of the gut and are therefore rendered virtually ineffective.

In addition to Live Cultures, our supplement also contains the digestive nutrients Curcumin C3 Complex® (Turmeric) & Ginger. Curcumin C3 Complex® is more soluble and absorbable in the gastrointestinal tract and provides more benefits than Curcumin alone. The active ingredients and essential oils within Ginger are called Gingerols and Shogaols. It is these active constituents in Ginger that help support digestive health.

What else can you do to keep your gut microbiome healthy?

As you can see, keeping you gut happy and healthy is extremely important to maintaining overall wellbeing. Here are some top tips to keep your microbiome in top condition provided exclusively for Biomed by Registered Nutritionist Rían Joyce.

  • Eat plenty of foods rich in fibre, such as vegetables, fruits and wholegrains; these are known as prebiotics and they support gut health because they provide food for the beneficial bacteria
  • Include probiotic rich foods in your diet, such as yoghurt and fermented foods, these contain beneficial bacteria that colonise the gut
  • Avoid highly processed and refined foods rich in sugars and fats as these foods can reduce the number of beneficial bacteria in your gut
  • Eat mindfully and chew your food properly; this gives your digestive system time to secrete digestive enzymes which breakdown food and ensures maximum nutrient absorption
  • Avoid antibiotics unless completely necessary, antibiotics are great as they destroy harmful pathogenic bacteria within the body but they also destroy beneficial bacteria within our gut

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