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6 Fascinating facts about the gut microbiome

Updated: Sep 30, 2022

1.More cells than human cells

The microbiome is the trillions of microorganisms that live on and inside our body including bacteria, fungi, viruses and other microorganisms, primarily located in the gut.

These microorganisms, bacteria especially, play many roles in our health: help us digest our foods, regulate our immune system, synthesize vitamins, assist in hormone regulation, and many more.

2. Early factors influence the composition of the microbiome

The baby's microbiome matures throughout the first years of life, and is directly influenced by the method of delivery (c-section vs. natural birth) and early nutrition (breast fed vs. formula fed).

Later on, the composition and health of our microbiome is influenced by many factors like our diet and stress levels for instance.

3. Gut & brain connection

The gut has its own nervous system called the 'the enteric nervous system', a part of the autonomic system often referred as " the second brain".

The ENS is composed of millions of neurons. These neurons communicate with the brain through the vagus nerve.

Moreover, about 95% of the body's neurotransmitter serotonin is manufactured in the gut (among others). This hormone plays a key role in regulating our mood and wellbeing.

4. Gut & immune function

The microbiome is crucial for the regulation of our immune system, and so is the health of our gut lining.

In fact, 80% of our immune system is located in the gut.

Gut bacteria (them) and immune system cells (us) have a symbiotic relationship and communicate/ regulate each other to maintain "homeostasis' (a stable environment) in the body.

5. "All diseases start in the gut" Hypocrates.

Not surprisingly, dysbiosis (imbalance) and lack of diversity in the gut have been associated with many diseases & conditions from anxiety to autoimmune conditions.

Moreover, significant differences have been observed in the microbiome of healthy people, and people suffering from obesity, diabetes and other chronic diseases. The reasons behind these findings is not fully understood yet.

6. Gut disruptors and gut health

An important thing to remember is that while some things can be beneficial for the health of our microbiome, some others can drastically and negatively impact it.

An example is antibiotics. While they can save lives in many cases, overusing them and/ or taking them for too long can be extremely disruptive to the microbiome.

Indeed, while killing the bad bacteria to prevent further infections, antibiotics unfortunately kill our beneficial bacteria as well, altering in the process the diversity and metabolic functions of our gut microbiome.

If you would like more informations, and individualized recommendations on how to nurture your gut microbiome 1:1 bookings with me are available :)

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