Gut health has become a prominent focus in 21st century health care. The human body has more bacteria cells than human cells, and recent clinical research links an imbalance of bacteria in the gut microbiome (“good” vs “bad” bacteria) to almost every chronic disease—including obesity, diabetes, autoimmunity, depression, cancer, heart disease, fibromyalgia and asthma.

Research also reveals that people with lower amounts of “good” intestinal bacteria had increased adiposity (fat tissue), insulin resistance, high cholesterol and general inflammation when compared with individuals who have a healthy-gut microbiome (1, 4).

In addition to the ecosystem inside the gut microbiome, the intestinal wall itself houses nearly 70 percent of the body’s immune system. The lining of our intestinal wall is only one cell layer thick, and therefore very susceptible to damage. If that barrier breaks down, due to infection, medications, food allergens or toxins, the body’s immune system is compromised which can also lead to chronic disease.

The gut also contains more neurotransmitters than the brain, and the two organs are highly connected. If messages are altered for any reason in any direction—from the brain to the gut or the gut to the brain—you’ll experience health concerns.

At STR!VE, we talk with members about the link between gut health and chronic disease, and utilize evidence-based lifestyle management strategies as the first and primary method for prevention and treatment.

Lifestyle factors that can damage your gut microbiome (2,3):

  • Processed foods and a nutrient-poor diet
  • Chronic stress
  • Overuse of medications such as steroids, anti-inflammatories, antibiotics and acid blockers

Actions you can take to improve your gut microbiome:

  • Replace processed foods, sugars and refined carbohydrates with fiber-rich whole foods
  • Aim for 75% of your plate to be plant-based foods and vegetables
  • Eat fermented foods that contain good amounts of probiotics such as miso, kimchi, sauerkraut and tempeh
  • Consider a 30-day elimination diet to pinpoint trigger foods

STR!VE offers advanced gut microbiome testing through our partnership with Arivale. If you’d like to know more about your gut microbiome and how it impacts your overall health, talk with your STR!VE provider or schedule a complimentary Meet & Greet appointment by emailing info@strive4u.org

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References:

1 E Le Chatelier et al., “Richness of human gut microbiome correlates with metabolic markers,” Nature 29, no 500 (2013): 541-6.

2 Senghor, B., Sokhna, C., Ruimy, R., & Lagier, J. (2018). Gut microbiota diversity according to dietary habits and geographical provenance. Human Microbiome Journal. doi:10.1016/j.humic.2018.01.001

3 Kelly, J. R., Kennedy, P. J., Cryan, J. F., Dinan, T. G., Clarke, G., & Hyland, N. P. (2015). Breaking down the barriers: The gut microbiome, intestinal permeability and stress-related psychiatric disorders. Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience, 9. doi:10.3389/fncel.2015.00392

4 Holst, J. J., Gribble, F., Horowitz, M., & Rayner, C. K. (2016). Roles of the Gut in Glucose Homeostasis. Diabetes Care, 39(6), 884-892. doi:10.2337/dc16-0351