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Why no two gut microbiomes are the same

You may have heard people talking about the ‘microbiome’, ‘microbiota’ or ‘microflora’. These terms all refer to the vast community of microorganisms, such as bacteria, yeasts and viruses, which reside in and on our body. We're absolutely teeming with them, from the oral cavity, and genitourinary tract, to the skin and lungs.

In fact, latest research suggests we are home to as many bacteria as we are human cells and that the microbiome collectively weighs more than our brain. By far the biggest community of microorganisms is in the gut, with over a 100 trillion bacteria making the large intestine their home.

Different species have different requirements, such as pH, nutrition sources and oxygen levels, needed to thrive. Therefore, you will find different species colonising in different areas of the digestive tract. It's estimated that there are over 3,500 different species of bacteria in the human microbiome, although many of these are yet to be identified or cultured.

Some species of microbes are beneficial, some are benign and others are pathogenic. They can all live harmoniously together as long as levels of each are balanced. Where imbalances occur, this is known as dysbiosis, which is associated with a number of negative health consequences for us. Beneficial species of bacteria in the gut help to support good health in a number of different ways. A good healthy gut microbiome may help to boost gut health, immunity, reduce UTIs, improve brain health, memory and mood.

Beneficial species of bacteria in the gut help to support good health in a number of different ways, such as:

• They help to protect us against disease causing microbes. They do this via a number of different mechanisms including competing for nutrients and space on the gut lining and secreting antimicrobial substances. They also help to lower the pH in the gut, making it more difficult for pathogens to thrive.

• They provide us with extra nutrition. Certain fibres that we eat aren't digestible by humans, and it is only when they are fermented by our gut bacteria that we can derive some benefit from the by products such as Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFAs) Our gut bacteria can also make vitamins such as vitamin K (needed for blood clotting) and B vitamins (needed for energy production).

• They help support detoxification processes in the body by binding to heavy metals and toxins in the gut thereby reducing the workload for the liver.

• They support the health of the gut lining, preventing intestinal hyper-permeability, known as "leaky gut", which helps protect against inflammation. A healthy gut lining also helps us to absorb more nutrients from our food.

Unfortunately, many aspects of modern life can effect our microbiome. Broad spectrum antibiotics, western diets, environmental pollutants, overly hygienic environments, stress, poor sleep patterns and aging can negatively impact our microbiome.

Did you know that no two microbiomes are the same? Our microbiome is unique to us, much like our finger prints.

To maintain or boost a healthy gut microbiome it is best to consult a Nutritionist to find the right blend of foods and or supplements to provide the best prebiotics, probiotics for you and reduce the exposure to environmental toxins.

Happy eating,

Nina Thomas

Registered Associate Nutritionist

If achieving the optimum microbiome interests you, I would be very happy to provide further information. I can be contacted directly on 07958 765337 and by email - - or browse the packages on offer at

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