MICROBIOME AND GUT HEALTH
“There is nothing like a POOP test to help you take control of your health and wellness!” ~ Dr. Lisbeth Roy
Did you know that a humble stool test could change your life?
A balanced microbiome – a healthy level of ‘good’ bacteria in your gut – is essential for sustaining optimized levels of health & wellness, yet many of us consistently suffer the side-effects of ‘bad’ bacterial gut health (flatulence, constipation, bloating) on a day-to-day basis, either too embarrassed or too busy to address it properly. You could eradicate those symptoms pretty fast and spend the rest of your life with a flat stomach, a healthy gut, full of energy in no time. Why wait?
A stool test performed here at the Doctors Studio offers us a rapid, non-invasive, painless and cost-effective way of finding out exactly how healthy your gut balance really is, immediately offering you nutrient, lifestyle & supplement-based recommendations that slot easily into your life and powerfully impact everything from your anxiety levels, emotional balance, energy and water retention to cognitive performance, global immunity & skin quality.
Why Do We Need ‘Good’ Bacteria?
Symbiotic, beneficial bacteria powerfully energize our immune system, optimizing energy levels & overall health. However, if we don’t look after ourselves, raised levels of ‘bad’ bacteria levels can swiftly cause us to experience constipation, diarrhea, bloating, flatulence & a whole range of other embarrassing & uncomfortable bowel & digestive problems.
Age-Related Microbiome Issues
As men & women age, they experience an age-related decline in sex hormones (testosterone for men, estrogen for women) around their 40’s and 50’s. Known as andropause and menopause respectively, both can lead to digestive issues. All women will experience these symptoms pre-menstruation at some point or another, and they can worsen during menopause or during menstruation. This is because over the course of the menstrual cycle, significant changes in Gram-negative bacteria in serum peak at the end of each cycle, which can contribute to annoying, common premenstrual symptoms such as anxiety, food cravings & fatigue. Similar issues can hitmen, but microbiome testing & probiotic treatment can significantly help.
In fact, a number of recent studies have demonstrated that an imbalanced gut microbiome can be linked directly to hormone imbalance, which can, in turn, lead to bloating, poor digestion, flatulence, fluid retention & other unpleasant symptoms. The health of a womens’ gut might, in fact, directly impact PMS symptoms, because her gut microbiota produces an enzyme called B-glucuronidase that breaks down estrogen. If she has poor gut (microbiome) health, this process becomes disrupted, causing estrogen that should have been eliminated to re-circulate, potentially causing a hormonal imbalance and all the symptoms that come with it. Men can be affected just as hard too – scientists have found that the health of a mans’ gut is, amazingly, related to his ability to keep producing hormones like testosterone.
Good bacteria (a result of great nutrition choices, exercise & decent sleep) should be considered our friends and helpers, not unwelcome invaders! They powerfully strengthen our overall physiological health so extensively that their presence makes us far less likely to suffer from autoimmune diseases such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, and fibromyalgia, while their absence can lead to ongoing, embarrassing digestive issues, such as flatulence, constipation, diarrhea, bloating, water retention, mood swings, bad skin, and heartburn. If you suffer from these symptoms regularly, you will know exactly how life-changing it would be to eradicate them forever. We can make that happen for you!
“The human body contains more bacterial cells than human cells. This means we are more bacteria than we are human… Crazy Right?!” ~ Dr. Lisbeth Roy
While we can encourage a healthy microbial environment in our gut by eating healthily, including fiber-rich vegetables into our diet, taking probiotics, and many other healthy choices, we first need to know exactly what it is that we are working with. Without a decent insight into your current microbial health, we might miss potential health issues or opportunities for optimization.
How do we achieve that? The humble stool test.
We can use stool testing, alongside parasite and urine testing, to understand exactly what is going on with your gut health and in the bacterial balance of every part of your body. A stool test simply involves us using a sample of your stools (feces, or poop) which we will then analyze for a range of conditions, including digestive tract disturbances, parasites, viruses, bacterial balance, & rate of nutrient absorption. It offers us insight into the overall health of your microbiome, which provides a valuable insight into your overall health & immunity.
Who could have thought that a human stool could be so fascinating!
What Is a Microbiome, Anyway?
Microbiome simply means ‘the microorganisms in a particular environment’. The gut microbiome plays a vital role in the overall modulation of human health, digestion & metabolism, whilst the human microbiome is the name given to the aggregate of all microbiota resident in our body (not only in the gut by also within our tissue and biofluids of the skin, mammary glands, placenta, seminal fluid, uterus, ovarian follicles, lungs, saliva, oral mucosa, conjunctiva, biliary tract & gastrointestinal tract).
Let’s take a deeper dive into the science.
When we talk about gut health, what we are referring to, specifically, is the gut microbiota (or gut flora) that live in our digestive tract. These microscopic microorganisms include bacteria, protists, viruses, archaea (tiny single-cell organisms) & fungi. These little guys, surprisingly, provide a kind of ultimate power pack that we cannot live without (not if we want to optimize our digestion, nutrient absorption, energy & overall wellness, anyway!), and which we at the Doctors Studio often focus on when we are drilling down to understanding and uncovering the sum total of all factors affecting a patients’ health.
Among other impressive benefits, beneficial bacteria in the gut allows us to synthesize & absorb vitamins & minerals, enables healthy digestion, balances our mood to make us feel calmer, more relaxed, and happier, reduces anxiety, improves immunity by protecting against infections, and even helping in the prevention of some forms of cancer. Strains of good bacteria in the gut are also associated with lower rates of obesity, diabetes, and various gastrointestinal diseases.
Clearly, the short- and long-term effects of maximizing gut microbiota health are enormous!
But what happens when we have an imbalance of gut microbiota?
A bad diet, high alcohol intake, stress, surgery, illness, trauma, food intolerances & allergies, and a high-sugar, junk food-filled diet can all give rise to a terrible bacterial imbalance in the gut, where ‘good’ bacteria are vastly outweighed by levels of ‘bad bacteria. Antibiotics can also kill off good bacteria as an unintended side-effect of their positive medicinal purpose, causing imbalances, poor digestion & negatively affected immunity, leaving us more vulnerable to disease & illnesses.
The great news is that we can powerfully influence the health of our gut flora by eating well, taking vitamin & mineral supplements if we need them, staying adequately hydrated, and avoiding foods that encourage the growth of bad bacteria (e.g., high sugar foods, or foods that we are intolerant to). The work that goes into restoring gut health doesn’t have to be really tough – it can be as simple as introducing healthier food choices, being a little more active, and taking a daily biotic supplement, for example – but the payoffs are enormous. The key is to know exactly what you need to improve & focus on.
“BAD gut bacterial balance actually causes you to be overweight, absent minded, and prone to illness. The only way to fix this is to test and correct.” ~ Dr. Lisbeth Roy
The Gut-Brain Connection
Until recently, bacteria in the gut were thought to principally affect the regulation of bowel movements (in other words, dictating the health & regularity of your feces, or poop). However, it is now known that gut bacteria affects the entire body, even influencing the cognitive function of the brain. Some medics now refer to the gut as our ‘second brain’, where the ENS or Enteric Nervous System (two thin layers of more than 100m nerve cells that line the GI tract all the way from the esophagus to the rectum) communicate directly with the brain via the CNS (Central Nervous System) to create two-way, vastly interconnected outcomes. Unbelievably, for example, recent research has found that anxiety & depression aren’t, as previously thought, only outcomes of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), but also, potentially, causes of it. Other studies have reported that irritation in the GI sends signals from the ENS to the CNS that subsequently trigger mood changes, potentially increasing anxiety or a depressed mood. That places a whole different spin on the power of food choices; it’s not only your waistline but potentially your happiness, that is impacted by choosing a fast-food burger over a super-food salad.
As so many millions of nerve cells and neurons connect the gut and the brain, improving gut health can significantly improve brain health, and immunity:
In fact, up to 80% of our immune system resides in our gut, meaning that the quality of our gut health will ultimately play a significant role in our long-term susceptibility to disease & illness. Recent research also highlights the powerful effect of gut bacteria on cognitive performance, meaning that healthy food choices can impact not only aesthetic outcomes but physiological health, immunity, mental sharpness & emotional stability!
Ultimately, the science of gut health is a fascinating area, so knowing as much as you can about your unique microbiota profile remains one of the most empowering things you can do.
Building Our Unique Microbiome
As humans, we begin to build our unique microbiome the moment that we are born. How and where we are born play a major early role in the types of microbes that we acquire, whilst the baby phase of picking up, touching objects, and placing them in our mouths introduce us to many more (one reason why parents are encouraged to engage their little ones in safe but messy play!).
In fact, babies pick up microbes from every person or thing that they touch, and we continue to pick up microbes throughout our lives, vastly influencing our overall health. Our microbiome isn’t fixed; instead, it develops dynamically over time, constantly shifting & changing in response to its environment. We play a major mediating role in the dynamic nature of our microbiome, with pro-and prebiotic supplements, for example, just one means of powerfully influencing our balance of ‘good’ and ‘bad bacteria.
Microbiome Evaluations at the Doctors Studio
A comprehensive microbiome evaluation allows us a fascinating & instructive insight into your health, empowering you to understand how to maximize the positive balance of your gut microbiota to achieve optimized levels of health & vitality. A microbiome evaluation is non-invasive, painless, quick and the results are not only fascinating but potentially life-changing!
BENEFITS OF A MICROBIOME EVALUATION:
- Identification of GI (gastrointestinal) bacterial imbalance
- Assessment of the overall health of your GI system
- Development of a nutritional/lifestyle/supplementation strategy tailored to the support of your unique microbiotic profile
- Identification of sources and causes of GI inflammation, with subsequent plans to address & treat inflammation
- An overall assessment of your digestive enzyme status with follow-up therapy if required
At the Doctors Studio, we offer a comprehensive range of nutritional, lifestyle, therapeutic & medical interventions. To help you to maximize your gut health in a way that fits in most conveniently with your life. If you feel that a stool test would benefit you, we highly encourage you to get in touch! IN the meantime, here are our top strategies that you can implement right now to improve the health of your gut:
11 TOP STRATEGIES FOR BALANCING & STRENGTHENING YOUR MICROBIOME:
- Stop eating simple sugars (e.g., candy), processed food and fake foods (e.g., imitation crab or chicken nuggets that include meat glue, a form of bonding substance used to bind proteins together).
- Eat fermented foods that are GUT friendly (kimchi, sauerkraut, plain yogurt). Fermented foods tend to be rich in beneficial probiotic bacteria.
- Don’t take antibiotics unless absolutely necessary.
- Take prebiotics to feed your good bacteria.
- Eat lots of veggies and other soluble fibers.
- Eat less red meat (high levels of heme iron, found in red meat, can disturb healthy gut flora levels).
- Get plenty of sleep (poor sleep increases stress on the body, which can contribute to a leaky gut).
- Drink an abundance of water (staying hydrated positively affects gut flora).
- Exercise regularly and move your body! (exercise enhances the number of beneficial microbial species & enriches microflora diversity).
- Make time to destress and enjoy your own company (stress negatively influences gut flora balance).
- Consider the impact of gut microbiome health on your PMS symptoms. You don’t have to just put up with bloating, flatulence, indigestion, diarrhea, or constipation – it might be that a stool test & a managed improvement in your gut health might be the answer that you are looking for.
Let Us Help You!
Gut health packs a powerful punch in terms of how it affects our emotions, our immunity, our brainpower, our PMS symptoms, & our energy levels on a constant, day-to-day basis. If our microbiome is out of balance, this can really hit us hard – yet treating it can be remarkably easy! By testing & correcting imbalances, we can rapidly set you back on the path to amazing health, eradicating embarrassing side-effects like flatulence or bloating, and restoring your vitality and energy.
If you feel that you, or someone you love, would benefit from talking to the Doctors Studio today to discuss any of these health issues further, we would love to partner with you on your journey back to health & wellness. Call us today – we are here to help.
There is nothing like a POOP test to help you take control of your health and wellness!
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