Got Stomach Aches and Bloating? The Microbiome Might Have Answers!


The Microbiome:
Gut Health Series: Part 2

Do you ever wonder what's going on behind the scenes to turn your food into fuel?  Or maybe you couldn't care less, but you just want to FIX chronic stomach aches, bloating, and discomfort?  If either apply, read on!

What is my gut microbiome?  

The microbiome, also referred to as the gut flora, is composed of approximately 39 trillion bacteria cells that inhabit your 25 feet of intestines, your colon, esophagus, and stomach.  That's more bacteria cells than human cells in your body!

What role does my microbiome play in my health?

1. It allows for food to break down properly.  If it isn't functioning correctly, undigested food will irritate the intestinal tract and cause food sensitivities, discomfort, bloating, and stomach aches.  

2. It affect the efficiency of your immune system.

3. It affects your metabolic health.

4. It increases absorption of nutrients.

5. It lowers the body’s pH which in turn minimizes the risk of cancer.

6. It decreases the risk of gastrointestinal disorders, respiratory issues, and disease.

7. It supports motility.

8. It helps the body maintain a healthy weight.

9. It affects the management of anxiety, depression, and stress.

10. It affects mental clarity. 

What are some things that effect my microbiome?

1. Chemical Exposure:  Flora is decreased when exposed to chemicals in your environment, nutrients, and body care.  

2. Cesarian vs Vaginal birth:  Those born of cesarian may need to take greater measures to ensure that they compensate for the good bacteria that they were not exposed to during birth.  (recognizing that this is not always by choice)

3. Breastfed vs Formula: Flora is different in those who were breastfed vs formula fed (recognizing that this is not always by choice as well)

4. Diet: Flora thrives more in those who eat a diet high in plants vs processed foods. 

5. Antibiotics and Over the Counter Pain Meds: Flora is compromised if treated with antibiotics or many pain medications.

6. Age: Infants and elderly have a decrease in the health of their gut flora.

7. Genetics: Genetics play a role in your flora’s predisposition.

8. Stress: High stress negatively impacts the microbiome.

9. Alcohol: This decreases the health of the microbiome.

10. Parasites, Yeast, Fungi or Other Major GI Issues: These greatly compromise the microbiome.

How can I help my gut microbiome to thrive?

1. Probiotics:  These can be taken in supplement form from a trusted source, or from fermented probiotic rich foods such as keifer, kombucha, sourkraut, and yogurt.

2. Pre-biotics: Pre-biotics feed the probiotics and can be found in supplement form or from food sources such as onions, quinoa, fruit, garlic, honey, green tea, legumes, eggplant, and some fermented foods.

3. Plant Based Foods: Eating a variety of plant based foods promotes a flourishing microbiome.

4. Fiber: Foods rich in fiber such as flaxseed and vegetables allow for proper digestion and detoxification, allowing the microbiome to thrive.

5. Bone broth and L-glutamine: These can be helpful in restoring the cells of the digestive tract and stomach (especially for those who have experienced leaky gut), so that the microbiome has a healthy and strong home to reside in. 

6. If you think there may be more serious issues going on in your microbiome, such as an overgrowth of harmful bacteria, consider asking a naturopathic doctor to run a CDSA test (Complete Digestive Stool Analysis) as this is an incredibly thorough test to identify issues!


If you have more questions about your gut microbiome, post them in the comments below!