A gut microbiome refers to the trillions of microbes in the digestive tract. In general, intestinal bacteria have a significant influence on the health of individuals. The gut microbiome, known as the second brain, is shaped by various factors. For example, the gut microbiome develops during infancy, which gets influenced by the mother’s health, breastfeeding history, geography, diet, and other medication use.
Every individual has a unique gut microbiome facilitating metabolism by ensuring digestion, absorbing nutrients from particles, and utilising those nutrients for energy and normal body functioning. The human gut is more complex than any other system, and it directly affects the metabolic well-being of an individual. Fungi, viruses, and bacteria populate the human gut and impact everything from metabolism and digestion to the immune system and cardiovascular health.
Simply put, gut health refers to the health of the stomach and the gastrointestinal tract (GI). To keep your gut and yourself safe, maintain an overall healthy lifestyle that includes proper exercise, adequate sleep patterns, prebiotic fibre, probiotic foods, and a balanced diet rich in natural foods. A study shows that the gut microbiome plays a significant factor in exercise, improved blood-sugar metabolism, and insulin sensitivity. According to experts, diet and exercise can improve metabolic health depending on the individual’s gut microbiome.
According to research findings, a person’s metabolic health significantly impacts their quality of life. As a result, being metabolically healthy means having a low risk of developing metabolic illnesses and having good overall health. Looking at a blood test that includes a complete metabolic panel testing is one of the best ways to assess one’s metabolic health. Your blood parameters can provide you with an overview of your gut microbiome. Following that, a consultation with one of the HealthifyPRO 2.0 coaches can assist you in developing a diet and activity plan based on your health.
Gut Microbiome and Metabolic Health: The Connection
The gut microbiome effectively contributes to the host’s overall health. It includes the essential functions of metabolism and immune system regulation. In addition, the gut contains more than 70% of the immune cells that protect the human body from invading harmful pathogens.
Good bacteria are essential for nutrient absorption and intestinal health. When the gut microbiome is unhealthy, the human body lacks various nutrients, including important vitamins and essential amino acids. In addition, it will affect the body’s metabolism rate, and the imbalance level will increase the risk of developing obesity and diabetes mellitus. Researchers are still investigating how gut signals affect one’s metabolism.
How Does the Gut Microbiome Affect Metabolism?
The gut microbiome can influence metabolism through metabolites, the by-products of metabolic processes. Below are some of the metabolic processes that are affected by the action of the gut microbiome.
Studies show that fibre helps to prevent obesity, diabetes, cancer, and heart diseases. Also, short-chain fatty acids get formed from the bacterial fermentation of dietary fibre present in the gut. These fatty acids take various forms that aid in immune and metabolic functions. For example, research shows that individuals who are obese and diabetic will have fewer bacteria and tend to produce fatty acids in the form of Butyrate.
Breast Milk Digestion
Bifidobacteria, a type of gut bacteria, begin to grow in infants’ intestines during the digestion of breast milk. This bacteria is vital in breaking essential sugars found in milk, which aids in children’s growth. Furthermore, a study discovered that healthy gut microbiota in infants improves their ability to protect against diseases such as diabetes later in life.
Influence on Diabetes
Research finds that obesity and insulin resistance get associated with chronic inflammatory conditions. Factors such as diet can alter the gut microbiome. It results in dysregulation and secretory changes in microbiota metabolites. As a result, it will stimulate the primary metabolic pathways, leading to the rise of insulin resistance and diabetes.
Inflammation caused by immune system action can protect the body from infection. However, the excessive inflammatory reach will cause additional tissue and organ damage. As a result, maintaining immune homeostasis is critical.
The sedentary lifestyle leads to inflammation, inducing the onset of various chronic conditions. Since the gut is the powerhouse of immune cells, it will stimulate the metabolism to produce immune cells that fight infectious microbes. It also increases the production of regulatory T-cells to suppress the inflammatory reaction and prevent self-attacking.
Studies have revealed that the gut microbiome affects an individual’s metabolism by causing an imbalance in the bacteria level. When the bacteria goes out of balance, it will lead to obesity and result in the development of various gastrointestinal issues, including irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn’s disease.
Several studies have found that consuming an excessive amount of certain foods, such as red meat, negatively impacts the gut microbiome. It, in turn, converts choline, an essential nutrient, into the harmful compound trimethylamine N-oxide. This chemical’s high concentration increases the risk of developing stroke, high blood pressure, blood clots, and other severe heart conditions.
How Gut Microbiome Affects Other Systems of The Body
Chronic musculoskeletal conditions get often caused due to the abnormal level of microbes present in the gut. It will increase an inflammatory state, making the person more susceptible to developing rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis. However, probiotic supplements will aid in better calcium absorption and increase bone density and bone cell formation.
The gut and the brain health gets inextricably linked with each other. For example, a study has revealed that gut health significantly impacts chronic pain, mood, and behaviour. As a result, any issues with the gut or gut bacteria will stress the brain health, resulting in anxiety or depression.
The gut microbiome and skin health are also linked. Acne and dandruff are two examples of skin diseases caused by poor gut health. In addition, excess sugar, red meat, alcohol, unhealthy fat-containing foods, and other poor dietary habits can lead to dermatitis, psoriasis, gluten sensitivity, and other health problems.
Microbes in the gut can affect the fertility function of an individual in both males and females. A study has shown that poor gut health will lead to an imbalance in estrogen levels. As a result, it causes infertility issues—for example, endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome, and testicular dysfunction.
Scientific evidence has shown that leaky gut conditions affect the retina and increase the chance of developing various eye diseases, including dry eye, glaucoma, uveitis, and more.
Effect of Diet on Gut Microbiome
Diet significantly impacts the gut microbiome’s response to metabolic health. Because the gut microbiome is very dynamic, adopting healthy eating habits will help to shape it. However, to improve your health in the long run, you must adhere to the habits. On the other hand, unhealthy eating habits will result in gut dysbiosis.
Gut dysbiosis indicates the imbalance between healthy and harmful bacteria count in the gut, resulting in weight gain and irritable bowel syndrome. Individuals affected by IBS experience symptoms like bloating, abdominal pain, and cramps. These intestinal pain symptoms are due to the microbes’ formation of gas and other chemicals.
Diet is a crucial modifiable factor influencing gut microbiota composition. It means therapeutic dietary strategies to manipulate microbial diversity, composition, and stability are possible. In addition, long-term alterations in nutritional patterns affect the gut microbiota profile of each individual.
Probiotics are live, healthy bacteria. Probiotics have potential health benefits. It aids in the treatment of diabetes, IBD, and other diseases. Prebiotics, which include fruits, vegetables, and legumes high in dietary fibre, aid in the growth of beneficial bacteria.
The HealthifyMe Note
Certain beneficial bacteria in the gut microbiome help improve gut health. For instance, Bifidobacterium and lactobacilli present in the probiotics and yoghurt aid in sealing spaces between intestinal cells, preventing leaky gut syndrome. Furthermore, by preventing harmful bacteria from attaching to the intestinal walls, these bacteria aid in treating the symptoms of intestinal bowel syndromes. In addition, probiotics help to treat cardiovascular diseases. These are coronary heart failure, atherosclerosis, heart attack, and stroke by lowering hypercholesterolemia and hypertension.
Ways to Naturally Improve Metabolic Health Through Gut Microbiome
Taking care of the gut microbiome by maintaining the proper balance of these microbes is critical for physical, mental, metabolic, and immunity health.
Here are some natural ways to improve gut health by adapting to a healthy internal ecosystem.
Consume Fibre-Rich Foods
Research shows that fibre, a plant-based nutrient lowers the risk of developing metabolic diseases by inducing the growth of good diversified bacteria in the gut. Therefore make sure to include sweet potatoes, spinach, beetroots, carrots, fennel seeds, yoghurt, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in your diet. In addition, health professionals suggest that consuming yoghurt, lactobacilli, and gut-boosting abilities will effectively treat gastrointestinal diseases such as diarrhoea, IBS, and constipation.
Practice Regular Exercises
Studies have revealed that regular exercise enhances the number of healthy bacteria in the gut. Physical activity can benefit health in various ways while proactively impacting gut health. It can also alter the composition and functionality of the gut bacteria and, ultimately, the overall wellness.
Reduce Stress Levels
Research has shown a link between the gut and brain, indicating the gut microbiome and mental health are internally connected. For example, anxiety and depression can affect the gut and vice versa. Hence, following yoga or meditation will help you manage your stress levels, eventually reducing gastrointestinal symptoms and increasing the quality of healthy gut microbiomes.
Study shows that proper hydration can improve the mucosal lining of the intestines. Furthermore, it indicates that staying hydrated will protect the gut from infectious pathogens and harmful proteins and enhance metabolic health.
Avoid Highly Processed Foods
Eliminating highly processed foods from your diet is a simple yet effective way to improve your gut health. Processed foods typically contain high levels of sugar, fat, and many preservative chemicals, all of which can contribute to gut diseases.
Keep an Eye on Food Intolerance or Food Allergy
Eating foods known to cause allergy or intolerance will aggravate the discomfort and health of the gut microbiome. As a result, if you experience symptoms such as bloating, nausea, diarrhoea, or abdominal cramps after eating certain foods, avoid them the next time. Keeping a food journal will assist you in determining which foods are causing these symptoms.
Limit Your Alcohol Intake
Drinking too much alcohol can cause negative consequences on the gut microbiome. A study shows that excessive consumption of alcohol induces the development of gastritis, choric discomfort, heartburn, ulcers, and bacterial infections. These inflamed intestinal conditions are signs of an unhealthy gut. In addition, an unhealthy gut will further affect metabolic health, which will cause metabolic syndrome.
The HealthifyMe Note
A clear relationship gets established between the gut microbiome and metabolic health. A healthy gut means a more robust immune system and better metabolism. As a result, improving your gut health translates to better overall health.
The presence of trillions of microbes in the gut can affect one’s health in various ways, including weight, metabolism, and more. A healthy gut indicates a stronger immune system, improved metabolism, and a healthy brain and heart. As a result, improving your gut health means improving your overall health.
Making small changes to your diet will yield significant results. For example, consuming fresh, nutrient-dense sources of fresh fruits and vegetables, combined with exercise and stress-free lifestyle changes, can significantly improve the health of your gut. However, further research is needed to understand the direct link between the gut microbiome and improved overall metabolic health.