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All About Microbiota

Gut Microbiota

Since Hippocrates first considered the gut as a vital source of health, thousands of types of gut microbes have been identified.

MICROBIOTA: microbial cells of bacteria, archaea, fungi, protists and viruses that colonise the mucous membranes and skin of the human body.

MICROBIOME: the set of genes of the microbiota.

GLYCOBIOME: is the microbiome in a glycan-rich environment (mainly in the mucous membranes of the body).

It has been shown that there are many pathologies associated with disorders in the gut microbiota, being the origin of many diseases and health imbalances.

Some examples are: acne, anorexia nervosa (due to low diversity of microorganisms), addictions, alcohol-related liver cirrhosis, asthma and allergies, atherosclerosis, atopic dermatitis, autism, bacterial vaginosis, diarrhoea, rectal cancer, cystic fibrosis, tooth decay, malnutrition, obesity, osteoporosis, Parkinson’s, depression, type 1 and 2 diabetes.

Como Cuidar Tu Microbiota

  • Opt for gut-friendly foods: eliminate highly processed foods, saturated fats, added sugars and artificial sweeteners. Sweeteners such as saccharin, sucralose, fructose, sugar and stevia have an adverse effect on the microbiota. As you reduce your intake of these foods, try adding sources of prebiotics (such as garlic and onions) and probiotic-rich fermented foods, if you tolerate them well.
    It is also beneficial to include foods rich in inflammation-fighting omega-3 fatty acids, such as oily fish, as well as polyphenols, which are often found in fruits and vegetables. Omega-3 fatty acids promote the growth of bacteria that help decrease intestinal permeability, which is a risk factor for the development of autoimmune diseases, and polyphenols can increase the amount of healthy gut flora in the microbiota.

  • Minimise stress: there is a bidirectional connection between stress (physical, emotional and environmental) and gut microbiota. Chronic stress can lead to dysbiosis and gut hyperpermeability (leaky gut), which allows bacteria to flow into the bloodstream, possibly causing inflammation and health problems. In turn, an unhealthy and unbalanced gut microbiota can trigger stress and affect mood.
    Stress affects everyone differently, so stress management is bio-individual. It is essential to find ways to calm down, whether it is by taking a deep breath or putting on a funny movie and laughing out loud.

  • Get moving: exercise increases the amount and diversity of gut flora. It also stimulates the growth of bacteria that protect against gastrointestinal diseases and colon cancer. Moving your body regularly can have a positive impact on your mood, which can lead to food choices that support a healthy gut microbiota. An easy way to take care of your gut microbiota is to move your body more in ways that make you feel good. Start small; even a few minutes of physical activity a day has positive effects. Go for a short bike ride, play more in the yard/garden or try chair yoga or some stretches while sitting.

  • Limit antibiotic use: Taking antibiotics can significantly alter the amount and type of bacteria in the microbiota. These changes can lead to antibiotic-induced diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting. If antibiotics are necessary, talk to your doctor about probiotic supplementation to replenish the gut microbiota. While in many cases it is beneficial to take probiotics at the same time as antibiotics, it is advisable to check with your doctor about the best probiotic strains and take them separately after a few hours. You can also support microbiota health with gut-healthy food choices such as yoghurt with live active cultures or raw, unpasteurised sauerkraut.

  • Cut down on alcoholic beverages: excessive alcohol consumption can lead to dysbiosis, or an imbalance of beneficial and potentially harmful bacteria in the gut microbiota. In addition, regular consumption can cause the gut lining to become inflamed and porous, leading to a range of health problems. Gut-friendly alternatives to alcoholic beverages include soda with fresh lemon or lime, herbs, kombucha and sparkling water with some frozen red fruit.

  • Adopt a pet: Research has shown that babies exposed to domestic pets, before and after birth, have a healthier gut and greater microbial diversity. Also having a pet in the family positively affects other microbiomes in the body and both owners and their furry companions have gut bacteria in common. Having a pet in the environment during pregnancy and in the early days of parenting is very beneficial.