If uncomfortable bloating, constipation and smelly gas are a part of your daily life, chances are you’ve been looking for relief…
Did you know symptoms such as these often reflect a deeper issue related to your gut bacteria? For this reason, getting to the core of the problem requires an understanding of the complex relationship between the 38 trillion microorganisms living in your digestive tract (your microbiome), and you.
While that may sound like a big task, modern technology has made it possible for you to get to know your gut microbiome, allowing you to find out the number, type and function of the microorganisms that call your gut ‘home’. In this way, microbiome testing helps you discover how your unique microbial composition relates to your symptoms, and how to create harmony within your gut with the aid of a natural health Practitioner. Just as a road map helps you find the quickest route to your destination, a detailed ‘map’ of your microbiome can show you the best way to a healthy gut.
With the MetaBiome™ Microbiome Sampling Kit, you can get to the bottom of your digestive discomfort and receive guidance on how to manage it. This simple, easy-to-perform, at-home stool test delivers a detailed snapshot of your gut microbes, and how they might be causing your symptoms.
Your microbiome has been with you since day one, growing and developing throughout your life. Your microbiome supports your health in many ways, including:
- Breaking down the fibre from your meals, creating compounds known as short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) that help keep your gut healthy and allow it to repair itself in cases of damage (e.g. gut infections);
- Using that broken down fibre to feed other beneficial species (a process known as cross-feeding, performed by certain bacterial species, such as Bifidobacteria species); and
- Producing essential vitamins, such as folate and vitamin B12, and feel-good brain chemicals, such as serotonin, for your body to use.
At the same time, these mechanisms help to maintain a healthy gut environment that best supports your microbiome, allowing your good bugs to thrive, and continue to nourish you. However many factors, including consuming a low fibre diet, or taking medications such as antibiotics, can negatively influence your levels of good bacteria, causing you to lose their beneficial functions. This usually means less beneficial species are able to take their place, and the resultant imbalance between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ species may be responsible for uncomfortable gut symptoms.
For this reason, testing can be useful. By finding out about the balance of beneficial versus non-beneficial species in your gut, you can discover how your microbiome may be helping, or hindering, your health.
Several microbiome markers can be used to determine the microbial causes driving your symptoms. Let us take a further look at these markers.
D is for Diversity
Having an abundance of different species enhances the health-promoting abilities of your microbiome. In fact, having a large number of diverse, beneficial bacteria is one of biggest factors in maintaining optimal gut health. A high level of bacterial diversity has been shown to reduce the risk of digestive symptoms, whilst a lower level of diversity has been linked with symptoms such as constipation, bloating and diarrhoea, due to a lack of functional and protective gut bacteria.1 The MetaBiome™ Microbiome Sampling Kit measures diversity, to help you and your Practitioner determine whether low diversity is keeping you from overcoming digestive issues.
A high level of bacterial diversity has been shown to reduce the risk of digestive symptoms, whilst a lower level of diversity has been linked with symptoms such as constipation, bloating and diarrhoea, due to a lack of functional and protective gut bacteria.1
Unlocking Your Very Own Chamber of Microbiome Secrets
Certain bacteria are associated with gut symptoms, and discovering these bacteria within your microbiome can help guide your treatment. For example, having high levels of sulfide-producing bacteria (e.g. Bilophila wadsworthia) is a common culprit behind smelly gas (specifically, the kind that smells like sulfur), whilst methane-producers (e.g. Methanobrevibacter smithii) have been linked to constipation.
In addition, the MetaBiome™ Microbiome Sampling Kit can reveal the compounds your bacteria might be producing. For instance, helpful species will often produce high amounts of SCFAs, such as butyrate, which reduce inflammation, controls appetite and stimulates serotonin production. However, unhelpful species may produce high levels of harmful compounds, such as lipopolysaccharide (LPS), which can damage your gut lining, causing you symptoms such as abdominal pain.
Once you have mapped out the microorganisms in your gut and the compounds they produce, your healthcare Practitioner can help you strategically modify your microbiome (through food and strain-specific probiotics). This will enhance beneficial compounds and reduce damaging influences on your gut health, helping restore balance in your microbiome and reduce your symptoms.
Testing, Testing, One, Two…
Having access to cutting-edge microbiome testing that provides a detailed snapshot of your entire microbiome is a game changer. This is because it allows your healthcare Practitioner to combine their professional experience with information about your unique microbiome to create a personalised treatment plan to help you improve your digestive health.
The MetaBiome™ Microbiome Sampling Kit can illuminate which bacterial species are living in your gut, and how they may be contributing to your symptoms, allowing you to take control of your digestive issues and improve your overall wellbeing. Speak to a Practitioner about exploring your microbiome to resolve bloating, constipation and other gut symptoms for better health, today!
1 Durbán A, Abellán JJ, Jiménez-Hernández N, Salgado P, Ponce M, Ponce J, et al. Structural alterations of faecal and mucosa-associated bacterial communities in irritable bowel syndrome. Environ Microbiol Rep. 2012 Apr;4(2):242-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1758-2229.2012.00327.x.