People have heard that it is good for them to take probiotics, but there is a good chance that you don’t know why. Some think the reason is simply to keep your stomach healthy, but the reality is that it is so much more than that. The reason a daily probiotic is important is for a much larger purpose, and that is to support the forgotten organ, the Microbiome. This article about probiotics will uncover the latest science and research available on the topic.
What is the Microbiome?
The microbiome is a fascinating topic that researchers have spent over 200 million dollars researching so that they can understand the impact it has on the body. Its duties within the body are so complex that it is considered an organ system. The microbiome consists of an ecosystem of 100 trillion bacterial cells and 33 million genes that live in and among us. These bugs influence every aspect of life and are essential for good digestive health, adaptive immunity, hormone balance, communication throughout the whole body. These bacteria ultimately influence our genetics.
Until recently, it was thought that the microbiome did not begin until birth. The old thinking was that it was first seeded during the vaginal birth with around 1000 species, and then further seeded through breastfeeding.
Now researchers have discovered more about our microbiome and when it begins. First, they have found a community of bacteria living in a most unlikely place: the placenta. It was previously believed to be a sterile organ. Interestingly, the types of organisms are very similar to those found in the human mouth, strengthening the need for a healthy oral microbiome for pregnant women. Second, we now have growing evidence that babies are already born with some gastrointestinal microbiome. These organisms do not match what are found in the mother’s vagina; therefore, they likely come from another source – maybe through the placenta.
The War on the Microbiome
A healthy microbiome is essential for good health, but we must understand the war that has been waged on the microbiome. It is important to avoid things that destroy and disrupt the bacterial cells in and on our bodies such as antibiotics, hand sanitizers, and GMO foods like BT corn. These things are all known to heavily disrupt the microbiome. The BT toxin on corn produced by Monsanto was found in 93% of pregnant woman. Scientists suspect that BT genes are producing pesticides inside our bodies and those of newborns, making epigenetic changes and forever altering our genes.
There are many performance-robbing conditions that are linked to an unhealthy microbiome. They include but are not limited to: Alzheimer’s, diabetes, autoimmune disorders, hormone imbalance, thyroid conditions, Celiac disease, gut conditions, fatigue and brain fog.
How to Support a Healthy Microbiome
So now that we understand the microbiome, it is most important to understand what can be done to support a healthy microbiome. Doing a simple at home test that tells you the status of your intestinal microbiome is a very good way to start. This way you can take a more strategic approach to healing the gut and taking probiotics, especially if you having symptoms and concerns.
If you have no concerns and you want to just support your microbiome daily, here is what you should do:
The first thing that is very easy to do is take a good quality probiotic supplement. But the most effective way to support the microbiome is to eat food with probiotics and drink probiotic beverages daily. Good examples of probiotic foods are grass-fed yogurt and lacto-fermented foods like sauerkraut. Some beverages that are great for supporting the microbiome include kombucha and water/milk kefir. These things have all been proven to participate in a healthy microbiome.
Sources For This Article Include:
J Bienestock and S Colins, ClinExplImmunol. 2010 April; 160(1): 85-91,99th Dahlem Conference on Infection, Inflammation and Chronic Inflammatory Disorders: Psycho-neuroimmunology and the intestinal microbiota: clinical observations and basic mechanisms. Doi: 10.111/j1365-2249.2010.04124.x
Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology May 2007; 52(4):596-602
Aagaard K, Ma J, Antony KM, Ganu R, Petrosino J, Versalovic J. The placenta harbors a unique microbiome. Sci Trans Med 2014;6:1–11.