Updated: Jan 13
When I first heard the term Microbiome, I loved it instantly. It sounded so cool and misty. By misty I mean mysterious. What is this microbiome and where does it locate and what does it do? The more I learnt about it, the more fascinated I got indeed. Although it is called "micro", to me it is "huge".
Microbiome is your gut flora in the large intestine consisting of billions of live good and bad bacteria, viruses, fungi, and so on, living together hopefully harmoniously in your body. It is estimated to contain approximately 35.000 different strains of bacteria, mostly found in the large intestine and some in the colon. Some scientists call "Microbiome" your second brain whereas I see it as the 'Great master'. Actually the total surface area of your gut is more or less the size of a small studio apartment. It is long.
When we say gut microbiome, it is the place where the food we eat is being digested, metabolised, and absorbed to be delivered to the cells in order to provide energy to the body. This sounds so simple and bland. Maybe it feels like something that I learnt at high school. Just some anatomical information, nothing personal. But our bodies are more than that. We have this machine or temple (if we call it spiritually) that serves us miraculously if treated well.
Our microbiome may be the key to a healthy, happy and balanced life. If your good bacteria outnumbers your bad ones, you are healthy. If your gut microbiota or your little buddies in your gut are happy, you are happy. If they are depressed, you are depressed.
It is so related and interlaced because our bodies are made as 'whole'. There is no such thing as just physical or just mental. When a dis-ease comes to body, it first happens on spiritual, emotional or mental levels then sinks into the physical body when left untreated too long a time. Let's keep this in our mind for a moment and continue.
I'm sure you have heard of probiotic and prebiotic and how important they are for our gut health. You can surely take pills of both of them to rebuild your good bacteria especially after an illness or imbalance. This is a good idea.
Antibiotics kill good bacteria as well as the bad ones. After you finish a course of antibiotics, it is always a good idea to take probiotic supplements or eat a lot of food like yogurt, kefir, tempeh or kimchi.
Prebiotic on the other hand, is usually given by doctors if you have gut issues in order to regain balance in your gut flora. This helps you to rebuild the balance in a faster way. But in normal conditions, the best way is to eat food that converts to prebiotic in your gut rather than taking as a pill unless you have gut issues. Foods that ferment and create beneficial bioactive compounds in the gut are; dandelion root, chicory root, Jerusalem artichokes, leeks, onions, garlic, quinoa.
Now, the interesting part of this is; when you eat good amount of prebiotic creating foods in your diet, you live the benefits of reduced risk of obesity and being overweight due to satiety support of fiber, a stronger immune system, a healthy BMI. As you see, these are all physical benefits.
On the other side, when you have a balanced, healthy gut flora due to good amount of probiotics, your risk of depression reduces, feelings of happiness increase, cortisol (stress hormone) reduces so feelings of anxiety reduce as well, also healthy ageing is being supported. Do you see that these changes are all happening on emotional level?
Prebiotic is more in charge of physical wellbeing like weight management and immune support. Whereas probiotics are specifically in charge of regulating our mood and emotions.
So if your microbiome is healthy and happy, you are definitely healthy and happy. Now, don't you think whether something like depression can be cured by merely healing microbiome? This is an intriguing idea.
Of course we cannot say that this can be applied to all cases. But I believe, majority of illnesses are created because of long term stress, anxiety, unhappiness, sadness, loneliness, trauma, depression and so on. And these emotions are either the result or the reason of an unhealthy microbiome. Looking into potential physical reasons of a psychological disease or potential psychological reasons of a physical disease could save so much time, medication and energy on both sides. The connection between depression and microbiome is a good example for this.
Experiment with whole foods and eat a rainbow diet. Move a lot and enjoy mobility. Create positive change everyday with little things. Make healthy choices each and every time. Our bodies are strong and capable of self-healing given time and space. Explore your inner self, the cool and misty planet.