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Get to Know Your Microbiome!

The human microbiome is one of the most fascinating things about our bodies. It consists of the trillions of beneficial bacteria that inhabit our digestive tracts and mucous membranes and contribute in so many ways to our health. According to the National Institute of Health Human Biome Project (HBP), this collection of microorganisms outnumbers our human cells by ten to one. These organisms number more than 100 trillion!

There are a growing number of scientific studies that indicate that a healthy microbiome can ward off disease, and there are definite lifestyle changes we can make to support these colonies that live within us.

First of all, how do these bacteria help us? Briefly, they produce vitamins that we don't have the genes to make, like Vitamin K, which help with normal blood clotting. They prevent and treat diarrhea, constipation, and bowel diseases. Beneficial bacteria enhance the digestion of nutrients, and prevent the overgrowth of yeast, bad bacteria and viruses in our gut. It's interesting that they also help in the making of brain chemicals that affect anxiety and mood disorders.

As little as a few days to a week of antibiotics can disrupt and wipe out all of the good bacteria in our digestive tracts. Other things that may come as a surprise that wipe out these colonies are chemotherapy, artificial sweeteners, chlorinated water, stress hormones and hormone therapies, including the birth control pill.

Who would have known that our inner ecosystem supports us in so many ways? The good news is that simple lifestyle changes can greatly improve the health of our gut, and many of the things that disrupt beneficial bacteria can easily be avoided. -Consult with your holistic healthcare practitioner about ways to nurture your Microbiome.

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