Gut microbiota consists of the microorganisms living in our digestive system and has various benefits related to our health.
Regardless of whether you have an idea on this subject or not, I invite you to discover the world of the microorganisms inside you! I will explain, just keep on reading!
This world was first introduced to us with the concept of microbiota, which corresponds to a community of microorganisms in a defined habitat, such as the mouth, vagina, skin, and intestine. In later studies, it was understood that there were not only microorganisms, but also the genomes of these microorganisms, their genome products, and environmental effects, and that these were predominantly colonized in the intestines. Thus, the world inside us is now referred to as the microbiome.
While there are about 20 thousand genes in your body, the number of genes your microorganisms have is in millions, and the number of cells in your microbiome is approximately 1.3 times greater than the number of cells you have… It is impossible to think that these microorganisms have no interaction with you when they are in such great numbers…
What Are the Factors that Affect Gut Microbiota?
How is your gut microbiota formed? Does it all start in the womb? Is the womb sterile or not? There are contradicting studies on these matters, particularly those demonstrating how the microbiome is formed in the first place. However, most studies have demonstrated that the womb can affect the microbial diversity of an infant. Your gut microbiota begins to take shape with you. The answers to the questions of “Were you born by cesarean section or normal delivery? Were you breastfed or formula-fed? How much and for how long were you breastfed? To what extent have you been exposed to infections and diseases? Have you used antibiotics frequently and for a long period of time? Where do you live? How much exposure have you had to toxins and radiation? How is your diet? Do you have normal hormone levels?” are quite important in the formation of your gut microbiota and the diversity of your microorganisms.
Despite the fact that almost one-third of your microbiome is similar to the microbiome of other people, your microbial diversity is unique to you, just like your fingerprint. You may be wondering under which conditions it differentiates. Your age and diseases, the geographic region you live in, your social environment, your pregnancy or lactation status, the antibiotics you’ve taken, the surgical operations you have undergone, and your dietary habits affect your microbial diversity. However, studies have concluded that microbial diversity does not change with interventions, such as short-term dietary changes occurring from morning to evening or within 24 hours, unless of course, you experience an aggressive or continuous intervention, such as fecal microbial transplantation, prolonged use of antibiotics, or long-term dietary changes.
What Are the Factors that Disrupt the Balance of Gut Microbiota?
- Consumption of processed and packaged products
- Excessive consumption of alcohol
- Insufficient fiber intake
- Excessive consumption of saturated fat and protein
- Chronic stress
- Your past infections and diseases
- Irregular and insufficient sleep
- Various hormone imbalances
What Happens in the Case of an Imbalance in Gut Microbiota?
Diseases are increasingly becoming a part of our lives. New approaches are needed to prevent or treat these diseases. At this point, modulation of the gut microbiota can be a great solution. There are a number of diseases associated with the dysbiotic clinical situation that occurs with the decrease in the number of good bacteria and the increase in the number of bad bacteria in the intestines. Examples of these diseases include asthma, eczema, diabetes, obesity, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, heart disease, colon cancer, and inflammatory bowel disease.
In other words, if you experience weight gain, skin problems, sleep problems, digestive problems, and even mental disorders such as depression and anxiety, and have tried everything and failed, you may need to examine the health of your gut microbiota!
Does your gut microbiota change when you get sick, or do you get sick because your gut microbiota has changed? Studies have revealed that the alteration of the gut microbiota contributes to the pathophysiology of disease, and its complications affect the course of the disease. In other words, if you can keep your gut healthy and microbial diversity balanced, you can prevent the development of diseases.
Then, is it possible to implement diagnosis, treatment, and prevention based on gut microbiota? Even if it is not possible to diagnose diseases, studies have concluded that it is possible to prevent diseases. All you need to do is have your microbiome analyzed using the right methods and modulate it!
How Does Your Gut Microbiota Heal?
Analysis refers to the gathering of data for various cases and purposes, and the evaluation of this data by people from different disciplines. Therefore, you need to get a microbiome analysis rather than a microbiome test.
You can learn the answers to questions such as how close your gut microbiota is to being healthy, how much diversity you have, and what your susceptibility to various diseases is. Hence, you can understand the deficiencies of your inner world, and can start looking for solutions on how to make yourself healthier!
How Can You Ensure the Balance of Your Gut Microbiota?
The first thing that comes to mind in the modulation of gut microbiota is probiotics. Although probiotics are thought to be good for intestinal health, some studies have shown that probiotics have no effect and may even be harmful. This is due to the fact that personalized evaluations are not made. Again, customization and customized probiotic supplementation are very important when it comes to probiotics.
Keep in mind that recommending a customized probiotic supplement is what is needed, not a personalized probiotic.
For the health of your intestines, make sure you include sources of probiotics such as kefir, pickles, tarhana, and probiotic yogurt in your daily diet rather than relying on supplements!
Since probiotics are living organisms like you, they also need to be fed. Prebiotics are food for probiotics. These supplements must be used carefully and excessive use should be avoided, particularly by people with chronic diseases such as celiac. You should, of course, still choose a diet rich in fiber and consume foods such as whole-grain bread, whole-wheat pasta, unrefined grains, oats, flax seeds, fresh and dried fruit such as apple, orange, pear, fig, prune, and dried apricot, legumes such as chickpeas, lentils, dried nuts, oilseeds, and peas. What you need to be careful about is avoiding the intake of prebiotics in large quantities as a supplement to your body!
What Is the Microbiome Diet?
There is a method that does not have contradictory results and that is 60-65% effective in the modulation of gut microbiota: your dietary habits. At this point, you need to abandon your bad eating habits and think about the health of your intestines!
A previous study reported that as a result of consuming only fast food (McDonald’s menu) for 10 days, a person’s microbial diversity decreased by 40%, one thousand bacteria were lost, and only after one year was microbial balance restored.
Also, the importance of a personalized diet is better understood thanks to the study conducted at Cell. According to the results of the study, it was observed that the postprandial blood glucose levels could vary even in people who consumed the same meals. In addition, it was observed that personalized diets, which were created with the help of an accurate predictor of blood glucose response that integrated parameters such as dietary habits, physical activity, and gut microbiota, could successfully lower the postprandial blood glucose and long-term metabolic outcomes.
A customized diet created specifically for you and your microbiome – the microbiome diet – appears to be promising in terms of bringing positive outcomes.
The important thing here is that the analysis of your microbiome should be performed using proper methods, and the results of the analysis should be monitored regularly!
What are you waiting for? Explore the world inside you!