Today, we are discussing the newest, latest and greatest research all around gut health.
In 2017 alone, approximately 4,000 peer-reviewed papers focused on the gut microbiota, which is the micro-flora that lives within our intestines.
Remarkably, between 2013 and 2017, the number of publications focusing on gut microbiota was 12,900, which represents four-fifths of the total number of publications over the last 40 years that investigated this topic.
We’ve talked about Gut Health here at The Whole Journey for well over a decade and have helped 12,000+ people create lasting, powerful, positive change in their gut health.
We have many past episodes on gut health, including anything from:
This new research will increase the data on gut bacteria by over double.
European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) and the Wellcome Sanger Institute, both in the United Kingdom, used computational analysis to assess gut microbiome samples from participants across the globe. The study revealed more than 100 previously unknown gut species, which have never been sequenced before.
They studied 20 people from the UK and Canada, taking fecal samples and then grew and DNA sequenced 737 strains of gut bacteria. The results showed 273 separate bacterial species, 173 of which had never been sequenced before – from this, 105 species that had never before been isolated were revealed, making them new to science.
The discovery of these new bacteria means that microbiome testing is changing and evolving with the more we know about the different species; allowing us to get a more accurate picture of what is inside our gut. It will be interesting to see how microbiome testing continues to evolve over the next few years.
Your gut flora, your diet, as well as your intestinal mucosal lining determine the health of your digestive system. Infections and viruses such as Epstein Barr, pneumonia, giardia, and the common cold and flu all can influence our microbiome.
Our gut microbiome is dramatically impacted in childhood.
Infections, such as chicken pox, mono, strep throat, pneumonia, food poisoning, and really any bacterial, fungal, parasitic, protozoal, or viral exposure all can impact our health in our adult life, so it’s vital to take an entire life health history.
Improving gut health is not as simple as adding in probiotics and increasing your vegetable intake. Often, adding more bacteria in this case, can cause bloating, constipation and disrupt the balance even further.
We must do a full, 5-step process to rewire the genetic code within our gut, which is the collective genetic material of all the species within our microbiome. By doing this, we can support our entire genetic code, and our immune system – creating lasting change throughout the body.
The enteric nervous system encompasses the nerve cells that govern the gastrointestinal tract. This nervous system is often referred to as our “second brain” because it is a group of neurons which communicate with our brain through the vagus nerve. We now know that this is a two-way street; our gut is continually signaling to the brain and vice-versa. It makes sense that our gut influences our thoughts, mood, choices, and behavior.
New research continues to show that microorganisms have a role in this communication process. A study just published in February 2019, out of Nature Microbiology, looked at the microbiome of over 1,000 people who were diagnosed with depression. The researchers looked at specific groups of bacteria shown to affect mental health. Two groups of bacteria, in particular, Coprococcus and Dialister, were consistently found to be at low numbers in people with depression.
Our favorite microbiome specialist, Dr. Jack Tips just published an excellent research review article, “Bidirectional Symbiosis.” He discusses this exact topic and how the body and bacteria work together for mutual self-interests. He notes:
“The microbiome can cause the brain, for better or worse, to experience states of increased boldness, anxiety, calm, increased rate of learning, enhanced memory and various moods depending upon the constituents and ratio of beneficial bacteria to pathogens.”
We love seeing this research coming out, as there are so many people on antidepressants (SRRIs) and/or sedatives who are also dealing with unwanted digestive symptoms, such as IBS and SIBO.
Unfortunately, a doctor’s visit is usually confined to 15 minutes and the relationship between the two are never connected or addressed. Within our Gut Thrive program, we have an entire module devoted to supporting the Gut-Brain Axis by way of re-establishing a healthy communication between the gut and brain, as well as concurrently supporting neurotransmitter production which is key to healing depression and anxiety effectively and naturally.
Along with the symptoms of anxiety and depression, constipation is often a big clue that our Gut-Brain axis needs some loving. It can be a sign the brain has slowed its involvement in peristalsis (the involuntary constriction and relaxation of the muscles of the intestine that create wave-like movements that push the contents forward, creating healthy bowel movements).
In 2016, among all outpatient antibiotic prescription fills by 19.2 million privately insured U.S. children and non-elderly adults, 23.2% were inappropriate, 35.5% were potentially appropriate, and 28.5% were not associated with a recent diagnosis code.
The overprescribing and overuse of antibiotics is a significant healthcare issue that causes a massive shift in our bacteria and microbes. The overuse of antibiotics can even cause certain bacteria to become resistant to antibiotics.
Lead researcher Dr. Kao-Ping Chua, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, said:
“Antibiotic prescribing is a major driver of the development of bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics.”
Nearly 25 percent of antibiotics prescribed in the United States are given for conditions they aren't meant to treat and aren’t effective at treating, so we’re killing off our good gut bacteria and causing leaky gut.
A brand new study found that when giving antibiotics to children, there is an increased risk of killing off good gut bacteria, which increases their risk of developing allergies in the future. This study is especially interesting, as allergies have increased 10-fold within the last ten years.
Based off of this new and emerging research, there are a few action steps we can all take today to support our microbiome and immune system.