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How To Maintain Gut Health

How to maintain gut health Blog

In the past decade or so, gut health has become a topic of interest for researchers and regular people looking to improve their health. Gut health is linked to several areas that promote health and wellbeing in the body. As such, people want to learn more about how to maintain gut health so they can feel better and avoid health issues. Research findings are showing that the gut microbiome is an essential aspect of our overall health. So, let’s look deeper into how and why we should maintain our gut health.

gut health - homebiotic - prebiotics

What is Gut Health?

Gut health refers to a proper balance of bacteria in the gut which promotes proper digestion and absorption of nutrients. It also refers to adequate nutrition as a way to support the bacteria in our gut. Also, by getting adequate nutrition and supporting bacteria growth, we can lessen our chances of getting other illnesses like diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, etc.

Gut health refers to a proper balance of bacteria in the gut which promotes proper digestion and absorption of nutrients. It also refers to adequate nutrition as a way to support the bacteria in our gut. Click To Tweet

What is a Microbiome?

The microbiome is comprised of all the microbes that live in a particular environment. We have a gut microbiome, but we also have one on the skin, in our homes, and in nature. In fact, we all live in one giant microbiome, called earth. The environment and how we interact with it has a big part to play in the health of our bodies. We also affect the microbiome for other living things as well. Every time we dump carbon and other pollutants in the air and water, we affect the overall microbiome we will live in. In turn, this also causes problems with our microbiome in and on our bodies.

gut microbeHow Much Bacteria Should I Have in my Gut?

The most important thing about our gut microbiome is ensuring a healthy and diverse amount of good microbes. It’s not so much the numbers of each bacteria; instead, it’s about the diversity. The more varied they are, the better our health will be. When we have an overgrowth of one type of bacteria, we often feel sick. Also, too much of one bacteria can prohibit the growth of others, which leads to dysbiosis. Dysbiosis refers to a gut that doesn’t have a balanced and abundant microbiome.

What are Good Microbes?

Good gut microbes are things like lactobacillus and bifidobacteria. These bacteria are essential in helping us break down food and absorb nutrients. They also help protect and repair damaged tissue inside the intestines. This is a vital part of reducing and preventing inflammation. Without diverse numbers of good bacteria, our body can become inflamed, leading to a variety of diseases and health problems. Our goal should be to protect and maintain the good bacteria in our gut. By doing so, these bacteria will help protect us as well.

What are Bad Microbes?

Harmful microbes refer to bacteria that not only make us sick but they prevent good bacteria from growing and doing their job correctly. Examples of harmful bacteria are c. difficile, e.coli, and salmonella. Also, various forms of fungi such as candida can cause health issues as well. An overgrowth of candida has been known to cause fatigue, diarrhea, indigestion, and inflammation. When our gut has a good amount of beneficial bacteria, these harmful microbes don’t have as much of a chance to grow.

What are Probiotics?

Probiotics are concentrated amounts of good bacteria that you can take in pill form. These products are for people who are lacking in good microbial diversity in their gut. The majority of probiotics contain lactobacillus and bifidobacterium. They also contain healthy yeasts as well; another beneficial microbe. Often probiotics are kept in the fridge to ensure the health of the bacteria in each pill.

There are many types of probiotic products. Be sure to talk with a nutritionist or naturopath to choose the right product for you. The research about probiotics is up and down. Many research studies lack the scientific rigor needed for the products to be approved by the FDA. Nonetheless, there’s enough research and anecdotal evidence that shows that probiotics are very helpful.

What are Prebiotics?

Prebiotics are basically food for our beneficial bacteria. They contain a type of fiber that is not digestible in the human intestinal tract. It is broken down and fermented in the gut. Prebiotics won’t help if you don’t already have enough good bacteria in your gut. However, many probiotic products come with prebiotics in them to help support the growth of beneficial bacteria.

Prebiotic products (pills that you buy from the store) are generally made with a substance called inulin. However, there are many foods that are considered prebiotic as well. Certain undigestible fibrous carbohydrates are considered prebiotics. These undigestible compounds ferment in the gut and the products of fermentation feed the good bacteria in our gut. So, in a sense, prebiotics are just as important if not more important than probiotic products.

How do Prebiotics and Probiotics Help Maintain Gut Health?

Having both probiotics and prebiotics are essential to maintaining gut health. They work together to ensure the health, diversity, and strength of the microbes in our gut. In this way, the beneficial microbes can do their job of breaking down food, creating by-products that aid our digestion, prevent inflammation, and increase the nutrients we absorb. Without this process, we can’t maintain our health very well. Some research shows that gut bacteria influence the health of our brains and the bacteria can even communicate with our nervous system.

gut health supplementsAre There Other Products that Help With Gut Health?

The good news is that we don’t have to rely only on probiotic and prebiotic pills sold in natural health stores. We can get both probiotics and prebiotics in different food items. Mainly these food items consist of fermented products. For example, sauerkraut is full of both prebiotic and probiotic substances. The fiber in the cabbage ferments creating food for the beneficial bacteria that grow on the cabbage. Another example is kombucha; a fermented drink made from a blob of yeast and bacterial culture. It may sound unappetizing, but it actually tastes quite good and it’s excellent for your health and wellbeing.

Perhaps the best news is that we can make these products ourselves in our own homes. There are many websites that can teach you how to ferment things to create your own prebiotics and probiotics. Research shows that eating fermented foods is a better way to get proper amounts of probiotics and prebiotics.

How Else Can I Maintain Gut Health?

There are a few other key factors that help maintain gut health. For one, antibiotics can wipe out our gut microbiome quite easily. Although antibiotic treatment may be medically necessary for certain conditions, it may not always be required for everything. For example, a viral illness that has no evidence of bacterial infection likely doesn’t require antibiotics. You should avoid taking antibiotics if they are not necessary. They should only be taken for a serious infection.

Secondly, diet plays a big part in maintaining gut health. A diet rich in fiber and nutrients is very important. Much of our modern diets contain too much sugar and processed fats, which can kill off our healthy microbiome. There are also chemicals in processed food that can decimate our gut bacteria as well. It’s best to limit these foods and increase healthy vegetables, fruits, and fibrous carbohydrates.

What Happens if I Lose Beneficial Bacteria?

Many people report having diarrhea and bloating after they lose beneficial bacteria through things like antibiotic treatment or a gastrointestinal illness. The loss of beneficial bacteria is usually temporary, but it can take some time to build back the gut microbiome. In these moments, it’s good to have a healthy diet along with probiotic and prebiotic treatment to help restore the diverse bacteria in our guts.

abdominal pain

What Health Problems Happen from Bad Gut Health?

When our gut lacks healthy and diverse amounts of good bacteria, we fall into a state called dysbiosis. This can cause mild health problems if the dysbiosis is temporary. Mild symptoms are usually things like diarrhea, constipation, bloating, and indigestion. However, long-term dysbiosis has been linked to several more serious health conditions such as autoimmune disease, allergies, chronic inflammation, diabetes, obesity, migraines, and nervous system damage.

Without a healthy gut microbiome, our intestines are unprotected which can lead to a condition called leaky gut syndrome. Leaky gut is basically a term to describe an intestinal barrier that has become too porous. This means that harmful substances can pass through the gut barrier and into the bloodstream causing a widespread inflammatory process. This inflammation is what can set off various health problems as described above.

Without a healthy gut microbiome, our intestines are unprotected which can lead to a condition called leaky gut syndrome. Leaky gut is basically a term to describe an intestinal barrier that has become too porous. Click To Tweet

Without a healthy gut microbiome nutrients don’t get broken down and absorbed properly. This leads to vitamin deficiencies and malnutrition. Without nutrients, our bodies can’t perform the necessary functions to maintain proper health. This seriously affects our quality of life over the longer term.

What Else Contributes to Poor Gut Health?

On top of a bad diet and lack of pre and probiotics, certain illnesses can contribute to a loss of beneficial bacteria in our gut. Interestingly, these health issues can be caused by dysbiosis so it’s hard to know what comes first, the illness or the dysbiosis. Nonetheless, illnesses like diabetes and autoimmune issues are known for degrading the gut biome.

What Can I Do Today to Help My Gut Microbiome?

You can take action right now to help promote and maintain your gut health. Number one is to ensure a healthy diet with lots of fiber and nutrients. Eat lots of diverse fruits and vegetables. Also, try to eat complex fibrous carbohydrates like whole grains and root vegetables.

Next, try to find a source of probiotics and prebiotics that work for you. If you don’t have time to ferment things like sauerkraut or kombucha, you can try buying these products from a natural health store. They tend to be expensive but they’re worth it. If you don’t like fermented foods then you can find probiotics and prebiotics in a pill format.

In summary

Maintaining gut health is essential for our overall health and wellbeing. Gut health is about having a healthy a diverse gut microbiome. We want to have healthy amounts of beneficial bacteria and low amounts of harmful bacteria. Good bacteria are essential for digestion and nutrient absorption as well as promoting health and preventing inflammation.

We can maintain our gut microbiome by eating a healthy diet and taking prebiotics and probiotics. The best sources of these two substances are fermented foods, but taking them in a pill form can also be helpful.

A gut lacking in diverse and beneficial microbes is in a state of dysbiosis. This can cause several health problems such as leaky gut, inflammation, and other health conditions. Some health conditions like diabetes, obesity and autoimmune disease can be caused by dysbiosis and can make dysbiosis worse.

A gut lacking in diverse and beneficial microbes is in a state of dysbiosis. Click To Tweet

So it’s obvious that the more we put emphasis on maintaining our gut health, the better our overall health will be.

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6463098/

https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/probiotics-what-you-need-to-know#:~:text=Probiotics%20may%20contain%20a%20variety,probiotics%20may%20have%20different%20effects.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4315779/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6733864/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30535609/

https://www.wholebodymicrobiome.com/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6567126/

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3 Ways To Keep Your Home & Gut Healthy

3 Ways To Keep Your Home & Gut Healthy | Blog

Keeping your home & gut healthy can involve some of the same steps! In the book “Never Home Alone,” biologist Rob Dunn says that we’ve done a fantastic job controlling the pathogens in our home environment (1). However, we’ve inadvertently gone too far and killed off all the beneficial species. Next, we built our homes in ways that favor problem species like fungi, new pathogens living in our faucets, or cockroaches living in our kitchens. He says there was always another way – that is to nurture the beneficial species in our homes (1).

Just like our gut biome, our home has a biome as well. Although the home biome is somewhat different than our guts, the same principles apply. Nurture the good species while removing whatever nurtures the bad. Experts say that we ought to focus efforts on the good microbes instead of killing off the harmful microbes. This is because whenever we kill off bad microbes, we usually kill the good guys too.

bright home filled with plants woman standing in window - Homebiotic - keep your home & gut healthy

To care for our gut biome, there are three main principles we need to follow: eat healthy, take probiotics, and take pathogen-killing medicine when absolutely required. It turns out that caring for the home biome follows very similar principles. Let’s look at each of these principles and how nurturing our home biome is similar to nurturing our gut biome.

coffee and healthy breakfast - homebiotic1. Eat a Healthy Diet

Keeping your home & gut healthy means keeping them nourished. Eating healthy for our gut biome means that we are feeding the good microbes with foods they like. Harmful microbes tend to like sugars, starches, and processed foods. In contrast, good bacteria and microbes like to eat fermented fibrous items like fruits and veggies. The idea is to enhance the growth of good bacteria and microbes, which will naturally balance out the gut microbiome (2).

The same can be said for our home biome. Good microbes consist of more soil-based bacteria and microbes, which we don’t often find in modern homes (3,4). Over the last half a century, we’ve become so averse to dirt that we have created a home environment favoring human microbes and pathogens. Research shows that when we began actively removing microbes and building airtight living spaces cut off from nature that we inadvertently favored a biome that lacks healthy microbes (1,3,4,5). At the same time, many illnesses developed, such as asthma, allergies, and autoimmune diseases. We’ve also made our immune systems more susceptible to other illnesses as well (1,6).

Over the last half a century, we’ve become so averse to dirt that we have created a home environment favoring human microbes and pathogens. Research shows that when we began actively removing microbes and building airtight living spaces… Click To Tweet

So the first step in nurturing our home biome is to feed the good guys in our homes. We do this by allowing our environment to find its own natural balance without using harsh cleansers, cleaning too frequently, and avoiding any and all dirt. The truth is, good microbes will eat and compete with harmful microbes if we let them be. Good microbes also have a symbiotic relationship with our human and pet microbes, and we must nurture that relationship as well (1,3,4,5).

alternative medicine - homebiotic2. Take Probiotics

Keeping your home & gut healthy sometimes requires calling in reinforcements. The other way we can nourish and promote good microbes in our homes is to actually add them to our environment the same way we do in our guts. It looks a little different between the gut and the home biome, but the principle is much the same.

Probiotics for our guts involve taking probiotic pills or ingesting foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, and kefir (2). As science and human technology advances, we are discovering ways to add probiotics to our home environments (7).

A research study done in a healthcare setting shows that probiotic microorganisms may help decrease the growth of harmful pathogens. Probiotics and their biosurfactant products may keep hospital-based infections under control. Since this works in a hospital setting, it may indeed work well at home (7). This is excellent news amidst a pandemic where we need to clean our homes with harsh chemicals more often.

This is where Homebiotic Environmental spray comes in to create a population of beneficial microbes within your home. Include Homebiotic as a treatment at the end of your regular natural cleaning routine to create a barrier of probiotic protection on surfaces in your home, keeping them clean long after chores are done.

spilled bottle of pills - homebiotic3. Take Pathogen-Killing Medicine Only When Absolutely Required

Keeping your home & gut healthy can mean minimizing the intake of antibiotics. In the last few decades, we’ve discovered that antibiotics and other chemical irritants can kill off the beneficial microbes in our gut. Even things like stress, massive change, and unhealthy food choices can negatively affect our gut biome. Now that we know this, many health officials are advocating for the discretionary use of antibiotics. There’s also been an increase in education around foods, chemicals, and stress and how they negatively impact the gut biome (1).

It turns out that the same is true for the home biome. Research shows that over-cleaning, using harsh antibacterial cleansers has a devastating effect on beneficial microbe species in the home. As we discussed above, creating a sterile environment in the house has led to the development of many new illnesses (1,3-6). This is because we need beneficial bacteria in both our guts and our homes to stay healthy.

Research shows that over-cleaning, using harsh antibacterial cleansers has a devastating effect on beneficial microbe species in the home Click To Tweet

So in order to nurture our home biome, we need to decrease our use of harsh cleansers and reduce our cleaning frequency. This is not to say to leave our homes dirty and full of grime. Rather, we allow some microscopic dirt to remain and clean in ways that don’t destroy beneficial species. Instead of using antibacterial cleansers, we can choose essential oils, small amounts of vinegar and opt for surface wiping and removing excessive dust (1,4,5,6).

Conclusion

In conclusion, it seems that nurturing our home biome is quite similar to promoting health for our gut biomes. As we are biological beings that live symbiotically in a connected biosphere, it makes sense that our home and gut biomes would behave in similar ways.

There are three main points to keep your home & gut healthy:

  1. We need to feed the good microbes while starving out the bad ones.
  2. We add in good microbes when necessary to help repopulate and bring balance to the biome.
  3. Be careful with how we treat overgrowths of harmful microbes.

When we don’t need to kill any harmful pathogens, then it makes sense not to use harsh pathogen-killing chemicals if it’s unnecessary.

As we become more familiar with our gut biome, it makes sense to look at the entire biome we live in, including our home. The principles for nurturing any biome are relatively similar. The more we understand, the better we can be at fostering our overall health and wellbeing.

 

References

http://robdunnlab.com/science-portfolio/never-home-alone/

https://www.wholebodymicrobiome.com

https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0064133

https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/full/10.1098/rspb.2015.1139

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1471490615000022

https://err.ersjournals.com/content/27/148/170137

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19201053/