When it comes to our health, the gut has a much more powerful impact than you might expect. But for many of us, the gut microbiome remains a mystery.
We’re taking a look at this incredible ecosystem to understand how these tiny bacteria can have such a huge influence.
What is the gut microbiome?
The gut microbiome is made up of trillions of tiny microorganisms that live in the intestinal tract. These minuscule microbes may be small, but the impact they have on your health and wellbeing can be mighty, and the key to their effectiveness is all about balance.
These bacteria play an important role in the digestion of your food, absorbing and synthesising nutrients. But beyond your digestive system, the bacteria in your gut are also involved in other processes, such as metabolism, weight, immune system regulation, mood, and brain function.
The type and amount of bacteria we host in our gut can be influenced by many factors and each and every one of us has a unique bacterial profile.
What does the gut microbiome do?
The gut microbiome is a hard-working system, responsible for a variety of functions in the body, including:
• getting nutrients from food
• protecting the body from pathogens
• digesting fibre and proteins
• making vitamins B and K
• strengthening the immune system
Digesting fibre is one of the crucial jobs of the gut microbiome, as the body can’t do it alone. When broken down, the fibre is turned into metabolites that the body can use to support other important functions, such as gut function, blood sugar levels, blood fat levels, appetite control and a healthy immune system.
Researchers have observed in mice that animals lacking a microbiome don’t develop a normal immune system, demonstrating how vital your gut microbes are, working together with your immune cells to protect you from infection and disease.
It also helps to stop the growth of pathogens in your gut and maintain the health of the intestinal barrier.
How does the gut microbiome develop?
The gut microbiome is formed very early in life and there are many factors which can influence the types of bacteria which populate the gut. From the health and genetics of your parents to whether you were breast or bottle-fed.
As you get older, the microbiome continues to evolve as you are exposed to different foods and environments. Some things that influence the gut microbiome are difficult to change, like genetics. But other factors, such as stress levels, lifestyle and diet, can be modified.
What is a healthy gut microbiome?
The gut microbiome is a complex system, unique to each and every person. The types of bacteria vary, as well as the numbers. And what can influence your gut microbiome – strengthening it or causing an unbalance – can also look different for each person.
Because of the unique and personal nature of our gut, identifying a universal standard is hard. But there are general signs and measures that determine whether your gut microbiome is healthy. Generally speaking, a healthy gut itself has a barrier that is effective at keeping the contents of the gut from escaping into the bloodstream, which can lead to intolerances and inflammation.
A healthy gut has several other important jobs within the body, such as helping to fight off infection and absorbing and synthesising nutrients that are essential to keeping your body healthy. So we can often determine, if these functions aren’t happening as they should, that there may be an issue with the health of the gut microbiome.
To help keep the microbiome functioning well, it’s believed that having lots of different types of bacteria living in the gut is a good thing. This diversity can help your gut better fight off and resist pathogens by building a stronger, more varied environment of beneficial bacteria.
While many of us have heard of the term ‘good bacteria’, it isn’t as simple as just adding a certain type of food into your diet. While eating a balanced, nutritious diet, rich in pre and probiotics can be very beneficial, lots of other factors, such as sleep, stress and exercise also need to be considered.
Gut Microbiome Testing
If you’ve noticed signs that your gut might not be functioning as well as it could, you might be curious about the health of your gut microbiome.
Understanding how your gut is functioning can be the key to understanding so much more about your general health, and how to take the right steps to improve it.
The Blue Horizon Microbiome Test analyses imbalances in the gut, showing how your health could be affected, including:
- Antibiotic Damage
- Autoimmune Problems
- Bowel Mobility
- Gluten and Lactose Sensitivity
- Metabolism & Weight Management
- Processed Food Index
- Protein, Fat & Carbohydrate Digestion
- Sugar Index
- Sleep Quality
How does a Microbiome test work?
The Blue Horizon Microbiome Test Kit collects all the data needed by easily swabbing a stool sample. Our Laboratory then analyses and reports on any imbalances in your gut bacteria profile.
You will receive a comprehensive report about how the levels could be affecting your health and offering dietary suggestions to rebalance your gut microbiome.