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friendly gut bacteria: the microbiome

Updated: 4 days ago

all disease begins in the gut!


Welcome to the gateway of health: The Microbiome, where the root of all disease is believed to originate in the gut. In my writing here, I will do my best to explain, in simple, childlike terms, the importance of gut health and how using one of my favorite labs (ha, I think I say this about a few), called the GI-MAP, can provide a comprehensive snapshot of what is happening in your gut.


Imagine your tummy as a big, bustling city, full of tiny, friendly creatures called bacteria. These bacteria are like the helpful residents of the city who do lots of important jobs to keep everything running smoothly. They help you digest your food, fight off bad germs, and even make you feel happy! Together, all these bacteria make up something called the microbiome. It's like a big team of little helpers living inside you, making sure you stay healthy and strong. Just like how you need good friends to help you out, your body needs these friendly bacteria to stay happy and well!


Then sometimes, things can get a bit mixed up in there. Dysbiosis occurs. This is  when there's a problem in your ‘tummy city’ because there are too many bad bacteria and not enough of the good ones. It's like if some of the friendly residents of the city suddenly went on vacation, and the not-so-nice ones started causing trouble. This can make your tummy feel upset and can even make you feel sick. So, it's important to help those friendly bacteria get back in balance by eating healthy foods and taking care of your tummy city!


Disturbances in this city in your tummy are often triggered by factors like poor diet, stress, or medication. These disruptions are increasingly linked to a wide array of health conditions beyond digestive issues, including autoimmune disorders, mental health issues, and metabolic diseases. Below I wanted to list the common autoimmune disorders, metabolic diseases and mental health issues that can be supported through healing your gut.


Autoimmune

  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA): This condition affects the joints, causing pain, swelling, and stiffness. The immune system mistakenly attacks the lining of the joints, leading to inflammation and joint damage.

  • Type 1 diabetes: In this autoimmune disorder, the immune system attacks the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. This results in high blood sugar levels, requiring lifelong insulin treatment.

  • Hashimoto's thyroiditis: This condition involves the immune system attacking the thyroid gland, leading to inflammation and reduced thyroid function (hypothyroidism). Symptoms may include fatigue, weight gain, and sensitivity to cold.

  • Multiple sclerosis (MS): MS is a neurological autoimmune disorder where the immune system attacks the protective covering of nerves in the brain and spinal cord. This can cause a range of symptoms, including muscle weakness, vision problems, and difficulties with coordination and balance.

  • Lupus: Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that can affect various parts of the body, including the skin, joints, kidneys, heart, lungs, and brain. Symptoms can vary widely and may include fatigue, joint pain, skin rashes, and fever.

  • Celiac disease: In celiac disease, the immune system reacts to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. This reaction damages the lining of the small intestine, leading to digestive symptoms, nutrient deficiencies, and other health problems.


Metabolic Disease

  • Diabetes Mellitus: This is a group of diseases characterized by high blood sugar levels over a prolonged period. There are three main types: Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes. They result from either the pancreas not producing enough insulin (Type 1 and gestational) or the body's cells not responding effectively to insulin (Type 2).

  • Obesity: While not always classified as a disease, obesity is a metabolic disorder characterized by excessive body fat accumulation. It can lead to various health complications, including Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and certain cancers.

  • Hyperlipidemia: This condition involves high levels of fats (lipids), such as cholesterol and triglycerides, in the blood. It's often associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases like heart attacks and strokes.

  • Metabolic Syndrome: This is a cluster of conditions, including high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels. Metabolic syndrome significantly increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, and Type 2 diabetes.

  • Gout: Gout is a form of arthritis caused by the buildup of uric acid crystals in the joints. It results from problems with the body's metabolism of purines, which are found in certain foods and are also produced by the body.

  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD): NAFLD is a condition characterized by excessive fat buildup in the liver. It's closely linked to obesity and insulin resistance and can progress to more severe liver damage, including non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and cirrhosis.


Mental Health

  • Anxiety Disorders: Research suggests that disturbances in the gut microbiome may contribute to anxiety disorders. The communication network between the gut and the brain, known as the gut-brain axis, plays a significant role in regulating mood and anxiety levels.

  • Depression: There's growing evidence linking gut health to depression. Imbalances in gut bacteria and inflammation in the gut may influence neurotransmitter levels and mood regulation, potentially contributing to depressive symptoms.

  • Stress: Poor gut health can increase stress levels, as stress and the gut microbiome have a bidirectional relationship. Stress can disrupt the balance of gut bacteria, leading to gastrointestinal issues, which, in turn, can exacerbate stress and anxiety.

  • Mood Swings: Fluctuations in gut microbiota composition and function have been associated with mood swings. Disruptions in the gut-brain axis may lead to alterations in neurotransmitter production and signaling, affecting mood stability.

  • Cognitive Function: Gut health can impact cognitive function and mental clarity. Studies suggest that dysbiosis and inflammation in the gut may impair cognitive function and increase the risk of conditions like brain fog and cognitive decline.

  • Sleep Disturbances: The gut microbiome may influence sleep patterns through its interactions with neurotransmitters and hormones involved in sleep regulation. Poor gut health has been linked to sleep disturbances, such as insomnia and disrupted sleep-wake cycles.


So why the GI MAP to uncover healing opportunities? 

The GI-MAP (Gastrointestinal Microbial Assay Plus) is a comprehensive stool test that analyzes the microbial composition of the gut. It provides detailed information about the presence of bacteria, parasites, fungi, and viruses in the gastrointestinal tract, along with markers of gut inflammation and immune function. The GI-MAP helps me to assess gut health, identify dysbiosis(balance of good and bad critters), and uncover potential underlying causes of digestive symptoms or other health issues. 


It's a magical tool that helps us create custom plans to support you and make your gut healthier, so you feel better overall.


So to sum it up…As your guide to optimal gut health, I'm committed to supporting your personal journey towards wellness. Through the powerful tool of the GI-MAP, we'll unveil a snapshot of your gut health, pinpointing areas of healing opportunities. Together, we'll navigate this intricate ecosystem, harnessing its potential to cultivate balance, vitality, and lasting well-being on your journey to be free from dis-ease! Book your complimentary discovery call with me here!

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