Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
Decreased microbial species in the gut can have a detrimental effect on your immune system, mood, cognitive function, weight, digestion and resistance to illness and infection
Common causes of a depleted Microbiome
- Overuse of antibiotics
- Processed sugar laden diets
- Sanitation Techniques
- Lack of fermented foods
- C-section deliveries
- Formula fed Babies
- Chronic Stress
Overuse of Sanitation Techniques
30 years ago 1 in 10 people suffered with allergies, now it is a shocking 1 in 3
Up until the 1950’s, it would be common practice for people to bath once per week in local bathing houses. Bathing daily was a privilege reserved only for the wealthy until the mid 19th century when household bathtubs became common additions.
Soaps were rationed in Britain until 1950 and dishwashers were not introduced until 1886. Antibiotics were scarce, hand sanitizers didn’t exist, processed foods were rare and household cleaning products were derived from natural ingredients such as vinegar or lemons.
Food was home grown, fertilizer’s were natural, children would play outdoors in the dirt and skin care products were minimal.
The fear driven hygiene obsession that introduced the sanitation techniques of the twentieth century have had a devastating impact on the microbiome, killing everything in its path including the important and highly beneficial good bacteria needed to support a healthy gut..
As the rate of cleanliness increased so did the incidence of auto-immune diseases, gut issues and allergies. The overuse of antibiotics in medicine, animal feed and water supplies along with the introduction of chlorinated drinking water resulted in the destruction of good bacteria and the birth of antibiotic resistant superbugs.
Stress and being Busy has become a default setting for most people but it has a breaking point that we often refer to as ‘burnout’
There is an epidemic of stress in the twenty first century that is resulting in a severe depletion of the beneficial bacteria and microbial diversity in the gut.
Thinking that you can avoid stress or life’s challenges is an unattainable vision that will lead to further torment and disappointment. Our modern life is saturated with mindless stimulation, distraction and fragmented biases of real life delivered via social media.
Living mindfully, focusing on gratitude, making time for yourself and family, implementing techniques to release tension, obtaining healthy eating habits, nourishing positive friendships and finding moments of calm throughout the day are important solutions that can make a profound difference.
Sugar laden processed diets
“The average adult American consumes approximately 22 teaspoons of sugar every day and children consume approximately 34 teaspoons every day — that’s more than two 20-ounce sodas — making one in four teenagers in America pre-diabetic or diabetic” – Dr Mark Hyman
As we are host to more bacteria than human cells in the body, it’s no surprise that these little bugs play a large role in our health. One of the biggest effects that researchers have now come to understand is that your microbial profile has the power to manipulate your cravings and food choices to create an environment in which they can thrive.
The bad bugs thrive off unhealthy foods such as refined or processed carbohydrates, grains, dairy, and sugar. What’s even more fascinating is they even have the power to manipulate our mood via the production or inhibition of certain neurotransmitters in the gut.
The surplus intake of refined sugars can also lead to the development of pro-inflammatory microorganisms that cause havoc in the gastrointestinal tract and lead to further cravings due to their dependence on sugary foods for survival.
Struggling with sugar addiction, read 10 tips to quit Sugar article: https://www.amitywellness.com/10-steps-to-kick-your-sugar-addiction/
An increase in C-Section Deliveries
After our birth we are soon colonized by so many microorganisms that microbes will account for up to 90% of the cells in the human body
Microbes have existed on earth for 3.7 billion years and Homo Sapiens have existed for only just over 200,000 years. Our first microbes are derived from the vaginal flora, which produce acidity to drive away other harmful bacteria.
The bacteria can reproduce is as little as 20 minutes and helps to train the immune system and digest breast milk which contains crucial antibodies to protect the child.
Within as little as 3 weeks post birth, the strength and diversity of the gut flora can predict a child’s risk of allergies, skin conditions and asthma in later life.
If a child is delivered via C-section, as a third of western babies now are, it is beneficial to administer a vaginal swab from the mother directly onto the babies skin or alternatively a lactobacillus probiotic be used if the first option isn’t possible.
Formula Fed Babies
If you are unable to breast feed due to unforeseen circumstances, opt for sheep or goat milk based formula as it’s the closest to human breast milk and a richer source of beneficial bacteria.
A babies gut flora is heavily influenced and nurtured during the breast-feeding process. A mother’s breast milk delivers the babies first dosage of prebiotics and probiotics. To further enhance the exposure, you can create a probiotic paste using a supplement and some filtered water and gently smear onto the nipple prior to feeding.
6 steps – 21 Days – Reboot your Microbiome
- Step One: Eliminate Sugar, Dairy, Refined Carbohydrates, Alcohol, Grains and Processed/Packaged Foods
- Step Two: Try incorporating moreprebiotics such as leeks, asparagus, garlic, onion, endives, artichokes, and resistant starches.
- Step Three: Experiment by gradually titrating up the consumption of probiotic rich fermented foods, such as; Kim chi, sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha, miso and pickled vegetables. Fermented foods can contain upto10 trillion Colony forming units of bacteria per serving, whereas standard probiotics usually only deliver 10 billion colony-forming units of bacteria. Try to eat at least one serving of fermented foods per day.
- Step Four: Include more Resistant Starch– This is a type of starch that resists digestion, reaching the colon intact. One simple way to add resistant starch to your diet is by cooking and cooling potatoes as this causes some of their starch to convert into resistant starch taking them from a high glycemic to a lower glycemic food choice.
Studies indicate that Resistant starch can be beneficial for the good bacteria in the gut, when consumed in quantities around 15 to 30 grams daily (equivalent to two to four tablespoons of potato starch).
- Step Five: Add additional fiber – Research shows that the majority of people in the western world are not obtaining enough dietary fiber in their diets. Fiber is an essential nutritional provider and natural fertilizer for the good bacteria that resides in the gut. Simply adding more vegetables, low fructose fruits and nuts and seeds (chia and flax are great) would be a good start. Vegetable fiber is especially critical for creating Butyrate, which is beneficial for healing the lining of the intestinal tract.
- Step Six: Add a High Grade probiotic and switch the brand every so often to create further diversity. The best approach to start with is to use a broad-spectrum soil based probiotic that contains species from all four of the phyla found in the digestive tract, including Proteobacteria, Antinobacteria, Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes. Each strain of probiotic performs differently depending on the unique environment of the gut.
Please Note: If you feel worse or your symptoms increase after the introduction of fermented foods, prebiotics and probiotics the please read the following article: https://www.amitywellness.com/why-do-fermented-foods-make-me-worse/