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Microbiome: What is it?

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Microbiome: What is it?

Alana Kessler

Microbiome for health

According to Chinese Medicine, the last 18 days of every season is the element of Earth.  Earth is essential. It is nourishing, it is grounding and it creates boundaries so that we can transition from season to season feeling safe and supported. 

As it turns out, the organs associated with this element are the stomach and the spleen ( and pancreas) - precisely the organs associated with nourishment, proper assimilation and transitioning.

The stomach, an essential yang organ,  holds the space and transports food for enzymes from the pancreas to continue digestion in the small intestine. The spleen, is an essential yin organ because it receives the nourishment from the food through the blood. As a receptive organ, the spleen’s health is completely dependent on the quality of food we eat and the efficiency and proficiency of our digestion, absorption and assimilation.

These organs, and digestion in general has a lot to do with the microbiome, a topic that has received a lot of buzz lately

So, what is the microbiome?

A microbiome is a unique collective of genomes composed of microbiota - a community of micro-organisms including fungi, bacteria, and viruses - that live inside the human body.  What we want is to have a positive balance of “good bacteria’ over “bad bacteria” to keep all the organ systems and our immunity at optimum condition. 

The microbiome is super sensitive and is impacted by many different factors. This includes; diet, chronic substance abuse, chemicals, pesticides, pathogens and  stress. Believe it or not, the brain-gut axis and the conversation and communication transmitters that run between them can affect the fine balance of the microbiome and alter the ratio and growth pattern of microbiota in the body.

When under certain influences, microbiota that are normally harmless such as candida  can be stimulated to overgrow and wreak havoc. Symptoms can include GI distress, fatigue, brain fog, yeast infections, food allergies, weight gain, chronic infections etc..

Diet and lifestyle is one of the first lines of defense in ensuring the microbiome stays healthy. When the microbiome is balanced, everything moves in the right direction, signals from the gut to the brain are unencumbered, immunity is high, the blood stays flowing, and hormones and enzymes are secreted appropriately and in alignment with their function.  

So, what is the secret diet to a healthy microbiome?

Here are a few of my suggestions:

1.     Eat whole, real, fresh, organic, unprocessed food

2.     Eat a  lot of vegetables and a few low glycemic fruits full of colorful phytonutrients

3.     Eat foods with plenty of fiber

4.     Eat foods containing omega - 3 fats

5.     Probiotics: 10 - 20 billion organisms

6.     Vitamin D3: 2000 IU daily

7.     Magnesium

8.     Plenty of  Methylated B vitamins especially B6, B12 and Folate

It is important to remember that the microbiome is a living thing and is constantly being transformed and reprogrammed based on the input and stimulus we offer it through our daily lifestyle choices. It is a privilege and a responsibility to be human. 

The beauty however, is  in that is in the recognition of the power we have to influence our day to day experience. No matter, what genetic hand we are dealt, optimizing the potential of the microbiome is available for everyone.