The Microbiome and How It Affects Your Health

Sandy Cardy (CPA, CA, CFP)

The microbiome is defined as the microorganisms in a particular environment (including the body or a part of the body). We depend on a vast army of microbes to stay alive — a microbiome that protects us against germs, breaks down food to release energy, and produces vitamins.

Coined in 2001 by molecular biologist Joshua Lederberg, the term “microbiome” has begun to get attention just recently in reference to gastrointestinal or “gut” health. Besides our microbes’ essential functions such as digesting food and synthesizing vitamins, studies have linked the microbiome to gut health as well as human mood and behavior, human development, and metabolic disorders.

It is becoming increasingly clear that assaulting our gut systems with pharmaceutical drugs, harsh environmental chemicals, and toxic food is a primary factor in rising disease rates. Because 60-to-80% of our immune system is located in our gut, gastrointestinal (GI) imbalances have been linked to skyrocketing rates of obesity, autism, and the intestinal diseases of Crohn’s, ileitis, and colitis. Hormonal imbalances (thyroid, adrenals) usually can be related directly to, among other things, a Western diet high in sugars and carbohydrates. Such bad eating habits can throw the delicate balance of intestinal bacteria out of whack. When your gut is unhealthy, it can cause more woes than just stomach pain, gas, bloating or diarrhea.

Recent research suggests intestinal inflammation may play a critical role in the development of certain cancers and immune system diseases. Until we begin to communicate clearly about this complex relationship, we will not be able to prevent or intervene effectively in many of the diseases that are devastating people’s lives today.

Research is also finding that a healthy microbiome with beneficial probiotic bacteria may play “a huge major role in reducing inflammation in the gut, a risk factor involved in illnesses ranging from colds to cancer, heart disease, arthritis, anxiety, depression, and cognitive decline,” according to Katherine Tallmadge, RD, author of Diet Simple. In addition, the bacteria may help burn body fat and reduce insulin resistance. So to stay slim and healthy, she suggests you consider adding more probiotic foods to your diet.

In order for true healing and meaningful prevention to occur, you must continuously send your body messages that it is safe, that it is not under attack, and that it is well-nourished, supported, and calm. Your own research regarding diet, supplements, and calming support programs such as meditation, yoga, and other holistic applications will help you on the path to better health. Many nutritionists and naturopathic doctors can be a huge help in educating you about keeping your gut happy and healthy, thereby ensuring your mental and physical well-being at the same time!

Microbiome testing, such as a stool analysis, can be arranged through your local naturopathic doctor or possibly your M.D. It may be costly but well worth it as the unique problems that may be challenging your immune system will be uncovered. You and your health care provider will then be able to design the perfect dietary and supplementary program for your healthy future.

Sandy Cardy (CPA, CA, CFP) is a leading authority on tax and estate planning, and for many years Sandy helped individuals grow their net worth. But after her own battle with cancer and subsequent full recovery, she immersed herself in researching how to protect your health as well as your wealth. Today, she shares her practical and inspiring knowledge of how to build a lasting legacy, in every sense of the word. To read more from Sandy, please visit her website You can follow Sandy on Twitter and Like her on Facebook.


Jerry said...

Interesting read. I knew microbes are quite important when it comes to food digestion but them affecting our mood is news for me. I guess there's a lot of logic behind it - having a diarrhea(which is a digestive system issue) can worsen even the happiest person't mood.

Life Extension said...

Jerry - We're glad you found the post interesting!

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