The Rise of the Microbiome

The Gut Clinic Sara Knight Newcastle Naturopath and Herbalist New Lambton

I watched The Gut Movie last week - loved being in a room of around 150 people who are interested in gut health. 

For those that have not seen it - and I do recommend you do so if you get the chance - it is about Kale Brock, an author and speaker, who embarks an adventure to learn more about how the microbiome affects our health. He looks at the research, foods, and testing with the intent of every viewer appreciating the importance of a healthy diverse microbiome.

And he is not the only one, Dr. Michael Mosely has been Catalyst lately talking about the microbiome and his Clever Guts book. You can see his show Guts on SBS Demand if you missed it. 

Our very own Dr. Jason Hawrelak at the University of Tasmania is a pioneer in the research and understanding of the microbiome. His research and naturopathic background provides a unique foundation for gut health. Plus he has been looking at this area for 20 years, a man truly before his time.

In addition, we are seeing an increase in the probiotics available, both in terms of strain, CFU or strength. Plus the research in strain-specific probiotics in certain conditions such as depression, allergies, and weight management. 

Fortunately, a growing area of interest is in prebiotics - those foods that feed the healthy bacteria in our gut. I am often asked, "what prebiotic should I take?" Or, "Can I get a prebiotics supplement?"

Yes. Yes you can. But is that the best option?

Which then moves us to the next topic:

How can you sequence your microbiome?
Why should you sequence your microbiome?
And more importantly, what do you do with the results?

Over the next four weeks, I will be looking into each of these topics in greater detail. I aim to provide you with the facts, advice, and direction on next steps. There's a lot of information available but trying to discern what is factual, applicable and complete is the real challenge. 

For now, let's get our heads around the basics of the microbiome with a few key facts:

  • The microbiome is the bacteria and yeasts that live symbiotically (for the most part) on and in our body. 
  • The microbiome is not limited to the gut, bacteria are also found in our:
  • mouth/oral cavity
  • skin
  • vagina
  • placenta during pregnancy
  • The microbiome in total can be up to 2 kilos.
  • Our own human cells represent 10% of the total cells in our body, the rest is our microbiome. 
  • Best way to support a healthy microbiome is to eat a whole food high fibre diet.
  • A healthy microbiome is comprised of a diverse number of strains in the right proportion. A decrease in the number of strains/CFU, as well as deviations from the ideal ranges, can lead to diseased states.
  • I will be preparing a weekly blog diving into more detail for some of the topics listed above. 

If you would like to ask a specific question or suggest a topic, drop me a line. Always love to hear from you. 

Sara Knight