It’s astounding to think that your microbiome, the trillions of microbes that colonize your body, may actually make up more of you than…you. The 1000+ different species of bacteria, yeast and other microbes in your body carry 150 times more genes than the entire human genome.1 And we’re just scratching the surface of understanding how these diverse species influence our physiology, mental health, and much more.
With new findings continually emerging on the roles of specific microbes, one thing is clear: To reach optimal thriving health, you want to take the best care of your microbiome—your vast internal ecosystem.
When most people think of this ecosystem, they think of the gut. And certainly, your GI tract—at approximately 30 feet long—is home to a majority of these microbes. But updated findings continue to expand your microbiome territory to include other areas of your body, such as:
- genitourinary tract
- and more…
Now, groundbreaking new data suggests there may even be an actual “brain microbiome”, as researchers find healthy gut bacteria clustered in specific areas in and around the brain.
The findings are still preliminary, and researchers aren’t clear what roles bacteria in the brain may play. However, we do know that bacteria in the gut can directly influence mood, emotions, and neurological health—all part of the complex gut-brain axis.
The diversity, health and function of microbial species in the human body can be very different among individuals, according to a number of factors: Where you live, your age, sex, race, what you eat, and other influences.1
Despite these major variations, as well as their different locations in your body, healthy microbes continue to deliver an astounding array of core benefits that are essential to your overall health and longevity.
Top on this list are digestive health and immunity—which influence nearly every other area of health as well.
Digestion and Nutrient Production
Without a healthy population of good gut bacteria, you’d probably be quite malnourished. That’s because healthy bacteria break down and metabolize indigestible compounds from food, turning them into nutrients your body needs to thrive. These indigestible foods are primarily dietary fibers found in vegetables. Other non-digestible fibers, such as pectic oligosaccharides, act as prebiotic super-fuel for beneficial microbes like Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. These prebiotic fibers—Modified Citrus Pectin being an important one—help feed your good bacteria with the nutrients they need to thrive and support optimal digestive health.
Your beneficial microbes also supply essential nutrients on their own, such as folates, vitamin K, biotin, riboflavin (B2), cobalamin (B12), and possibly other B vitamins. Your gut microbiota also produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) which provide you with essential energy, while supporting healthy gut motility (movement), reduce inflammation, support glucose metabolism, and other benefits.1
We now know that the majority of your immune system actually originates in your GI tract. In fact, up to 70% of your immune cells reside in your gut wall. Healthy gut microbes promote the development of the immune system, while at the same time, preventing harmful invaders from gaining a foothold. They also regulate inflammation and strengthen your gut wall to prevent harmful invaders from entering your bloodstream.
Beneficial microorganisms send signals and metabolic byproducts to immune cells, influencing your immune responses and ramping antibody activity to help fight pathogens, infections, cancer cells and other invaders.
Optimal Microbiome Balance: Core Strategies
When you have more beneficial microbes living in your gut than bad, you’re in a harmonious state called symbiosis. Your digestion and immunity is strong and healthy, and your overall vitality is in the optimal Thrive zone.
On the other hand, if you have more harmful microbes than good ones, you’ve got what’s called gut dysbiosis—a devastating imbalance that can lead to serious and debilitating health conditions, starting with your digestion. Dysbiosis causes inflammation in the gut, damages the GI wall and can lead to “leaky gut” syndrome, and an increase in dangerous infections—including deadly viruses. Over time, dysbiosis can lead to autoimmune conditions, metabolic diseases including diabetes, and even cancer.
The bottom line: For optimal long-term health and immunity, we want to maintain healthy symbiosis in our microbiome. Research points to several simple ways that you can positively influence your inner ecosystem.
Diet is one of the first key steps. An organic, whole-food, fiber-rich diet low in toxic chemicals and preservatives is fundamental. Pesticides like glyphosate can severely damage a healthy microbiome, while refined sugars and carbs can feed pathogenic bacteria.
Supplementing with healthy bacteria and beneficial microbes with a probiotic supplement can be extremely helpful in restoring gut symbiosis, and significantly reducing the health-robbing symptoms of dysbiosis.
Research shows that certain species or strains of bacteria can impact your health in different ways. By taking a combination of different clinically-researched probiotic strains, you can target specific areas of health that you want to improve, while providing broad-spectrum support and protection for immunity and digestion.
- Bifidobacterium lactis supports nutrient absorption and defends healthy bacterial populations. B. lactis converts carbohydrates into lactic acid, vitamin B, and other key nutrients, and encourages an optimal low pH environment for healthy microbiome populations to thrive. It also protects healthy intestinal function.2
- Bifidobacterium longum promotes a healthy gut environment and supports GI lining integrity; converts carbohydrates into lactic acid and prebiotic oligosaccharides into energy. B. longum also supports against pathogenic gut microbes.3
- Lactobacillus acidophilus produces vitamin K and other nutrients that support a healthy microbiome. L. acidophilus also promotes metabolic balance and immune function, reduces diarrhea and helps fight cold and flu, among other benefits.4
- Lactobacillus casei supports GI lining integrity, and helps prevent colon cancer, and supports metabolic balance. 5,6
The benefits of taking multi-strain probiotic supplements can be life-changing. But that’s only if they are able to successfully colonize your GI tract and create a state of greater symbiosis. And newer research shows that typical probiotic supplements don’t work for everybody.
In my practice, I was getting mixed results when giving probiotics to patients—mirroring these research findings. That is, until I discovered how to increase their viability and efficacy—with an unparalleled fermented liquid formula that includes digestive herbs, and 8 strains of potent live probiotics, and Modified Citrus Pectin as a powerful prebiotic nutrient. Because it’s a potent liquid fermented formula, it can work quickly to provide relief from digestive discomfort, while rebuilding your inner ecosystem for optimal balance and overall health.
Your personal microbiome is like your fingerprint, or signature. It’s unique to you, and makes up a significant portion of your health. Taking care of your microbiome is one of the most important and effective ways to promote your long-term health—and the health of the trillions of friendly microbes in your symbiotic community.
1. Wang B, et al. The Human Microbiota in Health and Disease. Engineering. 2017;3(1):71-82.
2. Lindfors, K., et al. Live probiotic Bifidobacterium lactis bacteria inhibit the toxic effects induced by wheat gliadin in epithelial cell culture. Clin Exp Immunol. 2008 Jun;152(3):552-8.
3. Lee DK, et al. Probiotic bacteria, B. longum and L. acidophilus inhibit infection by rotavirus in vitro and decrease the duration of diarrhea in pediatric patients. Clin Res Hepatol Gastroenterol. 2015 Apr;39(2):237-44.
4. Guo S, et al. Secretions of Bifidobacterium infantis and Lactobacillus acidophilus Protect Intestinal Epithelial Barrier Function. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2017 Mar;64(3):404-412.
5. Slattery C, et al. Analysis of Health Benefits Conferred by Lactobacillus Species from Kefir. Nutrients. 2019 Jun 1;11(6).
6. Hill D, et al. The Lactobacillus casei Group: History and Health Related Applications. Front Microbiol. 2018;9:2107.