Dr Henry Butt and his team at Bioscreen are in the process of conducting research on links between gut health and a number of conditions including IBS, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, autism, obesity, anxiety and depression. They hope to be able to identify key markers that are present in the micro biomes of individuals with these specific conditions, and trial healing protocols to help patients struggling with chronic conditions.
I decided the best way to share the wisdom that Professor Henry filled our brains with was to give you 5 take home bits of information that we really feel you should all know. We will also be putting together a post of the FMA testing soon, so stay tuned if you are interested in finding out if it could be the missing piece to your health picture!
I just wanted to start by clearing up a bit of terminology that seems to be quite often confused. While the terms ‘micro-biome’ and ‘microbiota’ may at times be used interchangeably, they really are not the same thing.
The Microbiota refers to the composition of the microbiota (all the different microorganisms present in the gut… the inhabitants of our gastrointestinal tracts).
The Microbiome refers to the genetic makeup of the whole microbiota (all the different genes).
To make it super simple: microbiota = bugs, micro-biome = nucleic acids (DNA, RNA).
So Here it is! Our Top 5 Take Home Bits of Information:
1. Stop just thinking about the ‘good guys’ and the ‘bad guys’.
Dr Henry made it very clear that we all need to get out of the good and bad bacteria mind set. What you need to remember that it is the altered distribution of a certain microorganism that makes us unwell or gives us certain symptoms. When we talk about our gut bugs being out of balance we are referring to the ratios our bugs are in and how much of certain metabolites (things) that they produce. So too much or too little of a certain bacteria is what is going to result in issues.
This is why the gut healing process a bit complicated as it is not simply a matter of that one is good - keep it, or that one is bad - kill it off! As with everything, it’s all about balance and identifying where your particular microbiota needs a bit more attention.
2. Be Patient.
The latest research has shown that it really does take dedication to work on your gastrointestinal tract. In more complex conditions, short term dietary changes and interventions had very minuet, if not little affect to the health and overall balance of the microbiota. To really make lifelong changes without any relapse of symptoms, the research is suggesting dedication of about 3 years is needed. So if your gut is in a really bad way and you feel like you may have tried everything but nothing has really worked, you need to understand that it will take time to achieve lasting results and healing.
3. Antibiotic Use.
While prolonged and excessive antibiotic use is the perfect storm for gut issues, it clear that the occasional use of antibiotics (once every few years) will not have catastrophic implications on your gut health. So if you really really need antibiotics, take them! But remember to to support your gut with SB (a yeast based probiotic) to help reboot your gut, remove sugar, inflammatory foods and eat lots of prebiotic rich foods during and following the course of antibiotics to help your microbiota flourish again.
4. Bone broth really is a healing elixir!
Studies have shown us that bone broth of approximately 4-5 cups per day was incredibly healing and beneficial in a wide range of different chronic conditions. And even if you don’t have a chronic condition, your gut will still benefit from the healing powers of bone broth. It is so easy to make and good quality broths are now readily available to buy in most health food shops. Add it to soups, slow cooker meals, make broth based pho or laksa, use it in sauces or simply drink it straight out a mug!
5. Don’t underestimate the importance of the gut lining!
It’s all very well deciding that you are going to pump yourself with probiotics and eat an incredible diet, but that isn’t the whole picture when it comes to gut healing.
If the suitable foundations aren't laid, all the hard work your doing may not be very beneficial if your gut lining is impaired. For organisms to be able to do what they need to do, they need to they need to be able to adhere to receptors in the gut lining. If you have a damaged gut lining as a result of allergies, inflammation, leaky gut or infections the organisms are not going to be able to adhere and work as well. So the importance of a gut protocol that takes into account the restoration and care of the gut lining is something that shouldn't be underestimated.