A healthy microbiome is a trendy topic these days with shelves lined with probiotic supplements and probiotics such as kombucha and lacto-fermented fermented products increasingly on the shelves.
While you may have heard about the benefits to your digestion, what you may not know is that your gut microbiome influences a variety of health outcomes such as regulating mood, immune function, nutrient absorption and your blood sugar.
What is a microbiome?
There are trillions of living bacteria on and in your body that play critical roles in your health. It’s estimated that there are 1-2lbs of bacteria living in your stomach alone, and the health community is learning more and more about what they do through the increasing amount of research being done.
Check out my post here on the microbiome to read more about it in depth.
And check out my TV interview here about the microbiome and immune function!
The composition of the bacteria in your gut changes with what you consume and can easily become imbalanced.
Antibiotics and other drugs can destroy pathogenic and beneficial bacteria, and a diet high in refined carbohydrates and sugar feed bacteria that are detrimental to our health, such as Candida albicans.
Foods that are rich in fiber help to replenish the good bacteria in your gut, as can prebiotic foods such as garlic, onions and artichokes and probiotic-rich foods and drinks.
I’ve written a great article on prebiotic foods with a tasty recipe that can be found here if you want more info!
How does my microbiome affect my blood sugar?
Research is increasingly showing how your gut microbiome is communicating to the rest of your body. Most of us know that we are what we eat, and what we eat also changes the microbiota and consequently impacts your blood sugar levels.
If your stomach has a poor microbiome, it’s more likely to be inflamed, have poor nutrient absorption, and poor digestion. The ‘bad’ bacteria in your gut will signal your body to have cravings for more foods that feed those bacteria – foods that are often sugars and refined carbohydrates, which perpetuate the cycle.
Eating bad foods creates insulin spikes in your body that lead to an increased likelihood of insulin resistance.
How it impacts your health
Your blood glucose (blood sugar) is modulated by insulin, which uptakes sugar into cells when there is too much sugar in your system. If your gut environment is as described above, your body will constantly need to be producing insulin to respond to the sugar in your system that the gut bacteria have called for.
To complicate matters, with the inflammation and poor nutrient absorption means that your body is being deprived of other nutrients while having an abundance of glucose.
One of the most pervasive dietary related diseases that is a result of high blood sugar is Type 2 diabetes. Research has shown that people with Type 2 diabetes have less quantity and diversity of gut bacteria than people who do not have diabetes and found that the diversity of the gut microbiota influenced the development of Type 2 Diabetes.
With Type 2 Diabetes, people have developed insulin resistance, which means that the insulin can no longer uptake the sugar into the cells, and blood sugar builds up in your system.
Many people that eat a standard North American diet are at risk for Diabetes if they don’t have a serious look at the types of foods they’re consuming.
On the positive side, researchers are beginning to look at whether Type 2 Diabetes can be reversed through diet alone, particularly with the new insight into how the gut microbiome plays a role in its onset.
Is there anything else I should know?
Your gut microbiome is a complex network delivering signals throughout your body.
If you have poor quantity and quality of bacteria in your gut and you have a poor diet that is feeding those bad bacteria, you’ll also notice other symptoms: brain fog, a poor immune system, anxiety, and even depression.
Your body is a system, and each part out of balance has a domino effect on the rest of the body.
To summarize, the foods you eat and the drugs you have taken during the course of your life change the composition of your gut bacteria, and subsequently, change the way that your body communicates with itself.
If you’ve noticed any of these symptoms, or are concerned that your diet has created poor gut bacteria and you want to take preventative steps to avoid chronic health problems, I can help you.
Want to curb your sugar intake & support a healthy microbiome?
Check out my Sugar Detox Program today!