What Impacts The Human Microbiome
Positive impacts on the human microbiome come from vaginal births and breastfeeding as well as including fiber, phytochemicals from plants, and fermented foods in your diet. For example, a 2019 study found that breastfeeding was one of several early life factors that positively influenced gut microbial structure and function in healthy, early school-age children. Many newer infant formulas are adding Human Milk Oligosaccharides and other non-digestible compounds aiming to mimic the many benefits of breastfeeding. Early data from adding HMOs is promising, although more studies are needed to confirm this having the longstanding microbiome benefits.
Negative impacts on the human microbiome come from high fat diets, high sugar diets, and the overuse or misuse of antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals, such as proton pump inhibitors . Antibiotics may harm gut microbiota populations as good bacteria become collateral damage of the course of treatment.
Yap, Y.A. & Mariño, E. . An Insight Into the Intestinal Web of Mucosal Immunity, Microbiota, and Diet in Inflammation. Frontiers in immunology, 9, 2617. doi:10.3389/fimmu.2018.02617
Ozdal, T., Sela, D. A., Xiao, J., Boyacioglu, D., Chen, F., & Capanoglu, E. . The Reciprocal Interactions between Polyphenols and Gut Microbiota and Effects on Bioaccessibility. Nutrients, 8, 78.
Sugary treats: our gut microbiome and diet. . EClinicalMedicine, 6, 12. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eclinm.2019.01.006
Effects Of Food And Drugs On The Gut Microbiota
Specific foods and dietary patterns can all influence the abundance of different types of bacteria in the gut, which in turn can affect health .
Examples of foods, nutrients, and dietary patterns that influence human health linked to their effect on the gut microbiota
High-intensity sweeteners are commonly used as sugar alternatives, being many times sweeter than sugar with minimal calories. Despite being generally recognised as safe by regulatory agencies, some animal studies have shown that these sugar substitutes may have negative effects on the gut microbiota.46 Sucralose, aspartame, and saccharin have been shown to disrupt the balance and diversity of gut microbiota.46 Rats given sucralose for 12 weeks had significantly higher proportions of Bacteroides, Clostridia, and total aerobic bacteria in their guts and a significantly higher faecal pH than those without sucralose.47 Mice given sucralose for six months had an increase in the expression in the gut of bacterial pro-inflammatory genes and disrupted faecal metabolites.48
Other areas of concern include the side effects of popular restrictive diets on gut health. These include some strict vegan diets, raw food or clean eating diets, gluten-free diets, and low FODMAP diets used to treat irritable bowel syndrome.
Box 2 summarises our current knowledge on the interactions between gut microbiota, nutrition, and human health.
A Review Of The Role Of The Gut Microbiome In Personalized Sports Nutrition
- Department of Nutrition, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA, United States
The gut microbiome is a key factor in determining inter-individual variability in response to diet. Thus, far, research in this area has focused on metabolic health outcomes such as obesity and type 2 diabetes. However, understanding the role of the gut microbiome in determining response to diet may also lead to improved personalization of sports nutrition for athletic performance. The gut microbiome has been shown to modify the effect of both diet and exercise, making it relevant to the athletes pursuit of optimal performance. This area of research can benefit from recent developments in the general field of personalized nutrition and has the potential to expand our knowledge of the nexus between the gut microbiome, lifestyle, and individual physiology.
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Microbiome And Inflammation In Psychotic Disorders
Gut microbiome has an important role in health and disease. One of the main roles of gut microbiome in mammals is that it guides the maturation and functioning of a host immune system, tuning it toward effector or regulatory directions.104 Furthermore, intestinal microbiota, gut, and CNS interact, forming the microbiomegutbrain axis.104 This occurs via afferent and efferent neural, endocrine, nutrient, and immunological signals.104 For example, some intestinal microbes cause anxiety- and depression-like behavior as well as modulate GABA-ergic, glutaminergic NMDA, and serotonergic 5HT1A receptors in the brain,105108 whereas germ-free mice exhibit reduced anxiety-like behavior.107,108
Several studies have found evidence of gastrointestinal inflammation in schizophrenia. Antibodies to anti-Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a marker of GI inflammation, are elevated in people with first-episode psychosis, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder.109,110 Furthermore, serological surrogate markers of bacterial translocation correlated with serum CRP levels,111 suggesting that GI inflammation may contribute to systemic low-level inflammation. A contributing factor may be increased GI permeability, which is supported by studies finding elevated antibodies against food in people with schizophrenia.112 These findings suggest that people with psychotic disorders may suffer from GI inflammation and leaky gut, which may contribute to immunological alterations in psychotic disorders.
Your Microbiome May Be Keeping You Awake At Night
Poor gut health has domino effects on all other aspects of your health, including sleep. While were still just beginning to understand the dynamic relationship between sleep and the microbiome, its clear that not sleeping enough can negatively impact gut health, just as bad gut health can negatively impact sleep.
Like sleep, our microbiome is regulated by circadian rhythms. And when these rhythms are disrupted, the health and functioning of the microbiome suffers. A 2016 study by European scientists found that after just two nights of partial sleep deprivation, participants experienced: a significant decrease in types of healthy bacteria, changes in the microbiome that are linked to obesity and diabetes, and a significant decrease in insulin.
And just as lack of sleep weakens our microbiome, a strong microbiome can help foster sleep. This is because the intestinal microbiome releases many of the same sleep-producing neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, dopamine, and melatonin, as the brain. So the relationship between sleep and the microbiome should be viewed as a two-way street.
The human microbiome is a relatively new, but incredibly exciting and important, field of study. Its the missing piece in the wellness puzzle. When utilized properly, probiotics can be an awesome aid in the quest for good gut health, but we should never expect it to be some sort of silver bullet.
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Dont Forget Your Prebiotics
The beneficial bacteria in your gut get their nourishment from prebiotics. These are carbs that your body cannot break down. As a result, they travel to the lower digestive tract, where they behave like food to promote the growth of good bacteria.
Foods like whole grains, bananas, greens, onions, garlic, soybeans, and artichokes contain prebiotics. For the best effect, probiotic use must be paired with prebiotics. If you find it challenging to consume all these, choose a quality probiotics+ prebiotics powder.
What Affects Gut Microbiome
There are several factors that can influence the health of your gut microbiome. Microbiome begins to develop in the earliest stages of infancy and, at that age, breast milk and other infant feeding habits can influence the health of the gut.
As you age, your immune system becomes further developed. However, your gut can still be susceptible to negative factors that impact its overall health. Among the most common variables influencing gut health are:
- Exposure to stressful situations
- The quality of your diet
- Any medications you might take
- Your age and physical activity
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References And Suggested Readings
- Valdes et al., . Role of the gut microbiota in nutrition and health. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k2179
- Hughes RL. . A Review of the Role of the Gut Microbiome in Personalized Sports Nutrition. Doi: https://doi.org/10.3389/fnut.2019.00191
- Mohajeri et al., . The role of the microbiome for human health: from basic science to clinical applications. Doi: 1007/s00394-018-1703-4
- Lloyd-Price et. al., . The healthy human microbiome. Doi: 10.1186/s13073-016-0307-y
- Falony et al., . Population-level analysis of gut microbiome variation. Doi: 10.1126/science.aad3503
How Does It Affect Your Body
Humans have evolved to live with microbes for millions of years.
During this time, microbes have learned to play very important roles in the human body. In fact, without the gut microbiome, it would be very difficult to survive.
The gut microbiome begins to affect your body the moment you are born.
You are first exposed to microbes when you pass through your mothers birth canal. However, new evidence suggests that babies may come in contact with some microbes while inside the womb (
Therefore, there are a number of different ways in which the gut microbiome can affect key bodily functions and influence your health.
The gut microbiome affects the body from birth and throughout life by controlling the digestion of food, immune system, central nervous system and other bodily processes.
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Where Do These Microbes Come From
Three-quarters of your microbiome can be traced back to your mother. The womb is a sterile place, free of microbes . But when we exit via the birth canal, were bathed in vaginal microbes.
This literal baptism of bacteria may be vital to a healthy start in life babies who are born through caesarean section are more likely to develop allergies, asthma, coeliac disease and obesity later in life.
We also ingest around a million microbes in every gram of food, and our diet has a direct impact on which species thrive in our gut microbiome. If we change diets, from meat-eater to vegetarian, for example, the gut bacteria changes accordingly.
Similarly, as we go through life, moving from one environment to another, were exposed to microbes from different people and places.
Every home has a distinctive microbiome that comes from the people who live in it. Just 24 hours after moving into a new home weve colonised it with our microbes.
And those who grow up in a household with pets are exposed to a far bigger array of microbes, which is no bad thing.
Scientists suspect that a lot of common modern allergies, such as hay fever, are triggered by an immune system that didnt learn to live with such microorganisms at an early age.
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Understanding The Importance Of Having A Healthy Gut Microbiome
Did you know that there are over one trillion microbes found in your body? While this might sound a little concerning, the reality is that most of these microbes contribute to the vast ecosystem found inside your gut.
Recent studies reveal that gut health from these microbes might play a much larger role in our health than previously thought. If youre ready to learn about the importance of a healthy gut microbiome, then youre in the right place.
In this article well cover everything you need to know about the topic, starting with what exactly it is. Lets get started!
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Gut Microbiome Colonization And Establishment
The human gut is thought to be sterile at birth, with colonization occurring as the infant passes through the birth canal. However, some recent research challenges this idea, suggesting that there may be some colonization that takes place in the womb prior to birth. Initial colonization of the gut bacteria is influenced by various factors and is unique to each individual. Genetics and mode of birth impact the microbiome. Additionally, environmental factors such infant feeding method , introduction to solid foods, antibiotic administration, and sanitary conditions all contribute to shaping the composition of the microbiota of an individual. The infant microbiota is very dynamic, but research shows that colonization of the microbiota usually stabilizes by around age three. Later and into adulthood, the gut remains fairly stable and is more resilient to changes in the environment. While short term changes in the diet can cause large, transient changes in the gut microbiota, over the long term, changes in long-term dietary patterns are required to cause stable shifts in the microbiota.
Future Areas Of Research
The microbiome is a living dynamic environment where the relative abundance of species may fluctuate daily, weekly, and monthly depending on diet, medication, exercise, and a host of other environmental exposures. However, scientists are still in the early stages of understanding the microbiomes broad role in health and the extent of problems that can occur from an interruption in the normal interactions between the microbiome and its host.
Some current research topics:
- How the microbiome and their metabolites influence human health and disease.
- What factors influence the framework and balance of ones microbiome.
- The development of probiotics as a functional food and addressing regulatory issues.
Specific areas of interest:
- Factors that affect the microbiome of pregnant women, infants, and the pediatric population.
- Manipulating microbes to resist disease and respond better to treatments.
- Differences in the microbiome between healthy individuals and those with chronic disease such as diabetes, gastrointestinal diseases, obesity, cancers, and cardiovascular disease.
- Developing diagnostic biomarkers from the microbiome to identify diseases before they develop.
- Alteration of the microbiome through transplantation of microbes between individuals .
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How Your Diet Affects The Gut Microbiome
Eating a healthy diet is an important part of having a well-balanced microbiome. When you think about a healthy diet in general, what comes to mind is usually lean meats, lots of fruits and vegetables, and cutting back on unhealthy things like sugar, artificial sweeteners, and alcohol. You can follow similar guidelines for improving your gut health.
Fruits and vegetables should be front and center in a diet thats good for the microbiome. They provide nutrients that the microbiome needs and theyre high in fiber. Your body cant digest fiber, but good microbes in the microbiome do, which stimulate their growth.
Fermented foods are good for the microbiome because they contain probiotic strains, like bifidobacterium and lactobacillus. These probiotics make the microbiome more balanced towards good microbiota and crowd out bad, pathogenic microbes that cause illness. Some common fermented foods that are good for the microbiome include yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh, kefir, and kombucha.
Sugar and artificial sweeteners should be avoided if you want to have a healthy microbiome. Pathogenic microbes tend to feed on sugar and its substitutes, which has a number of side effects and can lead to infection.
The Gut Microbiome May Affect Mental Health
These bacteria are like other living things. They have genes and even enzymes that can interact with different parts of the body, such as the brain.
The notion that it can affect mental health has been controversial, but a population-level study may change that. The research suggested some of these microbes may produce neuroactive compounds, and they may have a direct association with depression.
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Atopic Eczema And Other Allergic Disease
Allergic diseases, specifically those driven by type 1 hypersensitizationatopic eczema, atopic asthma, rhinitisand type 1 food allergies have risen globally in incidence over the past 50 years, with the developed world now showing an incidence at 20% of the population, providing a considerable proportion of overall disease burden.44 Atopic sensitization occurs primarily in the first 2 years of life and can persist through a lifetime, with the expression of allergic disease typically beginning with eczema , asthma , and rhinitis in what is referred to as the atopic march.45 Atopic eczema, an inflammatory skin condition, was found to affect up to 20% of children younger than 12 months of age in England and Wales during 200646 and cost the UK government nearly £500 million per annum in 1996.
As an explanation for the marked increase in allergic disease, the concept of reduced quantitative and qualitative exposure to the microbial world during the neonatal period has been termed the hygiene hypothesis and is based on the observation of increased atopy in smaller, and particularly urbanized, families50 from reduced exposure to microbial challenge. This underexposure to microbial antigens results in the aberrant outcome to allergen processing of immunological response rather than immunological tolerance.45
Feeling Stressed Check Your Gut
Whether its business meetings, charity work, time with friends, or family obligationswere always in go-mode these days.
But the heightened sense of urgency that comes with our fast-paced, modern lives causes unhealthy stress levels. Just thinking about all of your obligations can put your stomach in knots. And theres a reason for this.
The Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology recently published a recent study showing that consistent stress negatively impacts your good gut flora. And when it comes to gut health, you want your flora to be diverse and plentiful. When your good microbes are weakened from stress, it impacts the integrity of your gut lining and can manifest in many health issues. In fact, a stressed microbiome can lead to the type of inflammation that causes depression and anxiety.
Luckily, stress can be managed. And the microbiome is adaptable. By taking daily steps to improve our microbial health and working to reduce stress levels, we can vastly improve our overall health.
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Why The Gut Microbiome Is Crucial For Your Health
Your body is full of trillions of bacteria, viruses and fungi. They are collectively known as the microbiome.
While some bacteria are associated with disease, others are actually extremely important for your immune system, heart, weight and many other aspects of health.
This article serves as a guide to the gut microbiome and explains why its so important for your health.
Prebiotic Interactions With The Microbiome
Dietary prebiotics have been defined as a selectively fermented ingredient that results in specific changes in the composition and/or activity of the gastrointestinal microbiota, thus conferring benefit upon host health . This definition has been subjected to debate as it focuses largely around the need for selective metabolism. An alternative definition which includes the mechanism of action has been established recently in a consensus statement . The expert panel revised the definition of a prebiotic as a substrate that is selectively utilized by host microorganisms conferring a health benefit. This updated definition still requires a selective microbiota-mediated mechanism to be defined as a prebiotic.
Fermentation of dietary prebiotics in the gut involves metabolic cross-feeding where the products of fermentation by one or more bacterial species provide the substrate for other bacterial species . This complex cooperative activity of the gut microbiota is essential for good health . Bacterial fermentation of amino acids and proteins, which occurs mainly in the distal colon, generates a range of metabolites, many of which have a toxic potential. These include hydrogen sulphide, branched-chain fatty acids , phenol, indole, p-cresol, indoxylsulfate, p-cresylsulfate, and ammonia . Even if also present in the healthy colon, it must be noted, however, that we currently have a very poor understanding of the concentrations of microbial metabolites in the human colon .
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