The microbiome is a bustling lively world of bacteria that flourishes in and on our bodies. Without these helpful bugs we would not survive. Believe it or not, we are out numbered 10:1, by the amount of bacteria to human cells that lives within us. This relationship is critical to our health. Our bacteria excretes enzymes that communicate with our hormones and genes. They keep invaders out that can cause us harm; and, it’s even said that it’s our bacteria that’s actually responsible for choosing our mates. If our microbiome is not abundant, it will not be as robust as it needs to be to maintain all the body’s natural healthy functions, which can lead our bodies to illness and disease. Some of these illness are, but are not limited to, leaky gut, IBS, allergies, arthritis, eczema, constipation, brain fog, chronic fatigue, depression etc…and the symptoms go on. As a functional medicine practitioner, in Functional Diagnostic Nutrition, I offer recommendations to my clients to keep their microbiome flourishing.
First, I recommend a good probiotic, one to three a day, depending on symptoms. This will re-colonize the good bacteria in the intestines where it facilitates strong digestion and nutrient absorption.
Second, eat a clean non-GMO diet that does not contain synthetic dies, processed flours, sugars and hydrogenated oils. Choose organic whenever possible; and, buy clean meats that are 100% grass fed, free range chicken, turkey, and eggs, as well as grass fed butter. Dairy should always be Bovine Growth Hormone (BGH) free, and organic. Fermented and cultured foods also help keep microbiome healthy and balanced. These foods will not contain the chemicals or hormones that can damage the mucosal barrier of the gut.
Third, avoid pharmaceutical grade soap, and sanitizers that contain antibiotics. These have become overly used. The result, the body becomes antibiotic resistant. It also destroys one’s microbiome.
Fourth, try and purchase household body care and cleaning products that contain natural cleaning agents instead of chemical cleaning agents. Avoid sodium sulfates in lotions, shampoos, soaps, makeups, etc. www.ewg.org is great resource for measuring safety in these products. It’s also fun to make your own products, such as deodorant, or detergent. There are several resources online, and a great article on the soon be launched mauimamazine.com, “DIY Green Cleaning with Essential Oils” from issue 12.
Fifth, I would avoid the flu shot. There is evidence showing that it can potentially cause more harm than good. The heavy metals and chemical agents within this shot may harm the lining of your gut and reduce a healthy micrbiome. The shots have become less and less effective in identifying the correct flu strain. In addition, the additives contained in the shot may lower the body’s natural immunity. On the other hand, by contracting the flu the body’s immune system will naturally fend off the “bad guys.”
Children born vaginally inherently become inoculated with their mothers bacteria, this is critical to their well being in the early stages of life. Children born via c-section have bypassed this important inoculation and might become colicky. Although if the child is breastfed they will receive some amounts of bacteria from the mother at that time.
Many people have an imbalance in their microbiome. The longer it remains imbalanced, the more chance the it will become symptomatic of an eventual disease. By considering these five recommendations, the body will have a healthy microbiome, which inherently will create a stronger immune system.
Image Credit: Emma Whitney Photography