Gut Health: Modulating Our Microbiome For Weight Loss
The health of our gut plays a big role in our ability to lose body fat.
So what exactly is the microbiome?
In simple terms, it is the genetic material of all microbes (bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and viruses) that live on and inside our body.
Our microbiome development starts at a very early stage. Everything you do early in your life affects your microbiome.
How you were born:
Vaginal delivery: causes exposure to vaginal microflora causing a normal development of immunity.
Cesarian birth: lack of exposure to vaginal microflora causing an abnormal development of immunity.
Breast milk vs. formula
Bacteria in breast milk have antiviral and microbial actions. Formula does not. Unlike formula, breastfeeding helps with the healthy development of the microbiome.
Antibiotic use in early life is linked to a large number of health issues later in life through the disruption of the microbiome.
Antibiotic use in children is associated with an increased risk for:
Asthma and allergies
Inflammatory bowel disease
Industrialized diets generally have drastically reduced fiber intake, leading to a weaker microbiome.
The more diverse your microbiome, the less chance for obesity.
The western diet drives down diversity of the microbiome.
Dietary emulsifiers and artificial sweeteners can disrupt the gut mucosal barrier, inducing low-grade inflammation and changes in microbial composition (ie. leaky gut).
A microbiome transfer is done through a fecal transplant. AKA - transferring one persons poop into another individual (or mice for studies).
The microbiome is significantly different when comparing lean and obese individuals.
The paper "Gut microbiota from twins discordant for obesity modulate metabolism in mice," shows clearly that the microbiota itself can drive obesity.
So transferring the microbiota from an obese individual to a lean one, causes the lean individual to gain fat with no other changes to their diet or lifestyle.
Unfortunately, the way we were born and raised is out of our control. However, there are things that you can do to improve your current microbiome.
Here's what you can do TODAY, to take care of your gut.. not just for weight loss, but for overall health and longevity.
Modifying our gut (microbiome) may help:
increase our metabolism
improve hunger/ satiety hormones
alter fat tissue - making mobilization of fatty acids (aka burning fat) easily achievable
put us in less of a risk of immune disorders
1) Eat a diverse diet from whole foods. Limit processed foods.
2) Incorporate beans, legumes, rice, potatoes, and polyphenol rich foods (dark colored fruits and veggies).
3) Opt for high quality protein, including fatty fish (or supplement with a high quality fish oil).
4) Avoid dietary emulsifiers found in processed foods.
5) Consider taking a probiotic. VSL#3 is a great choice.
6) Optimize your lifestyle. Sleep, stress management, exercise, daily movement.
"Gut microbiota from twins discordant for obesity modulate metabolism in mice " Ridaura VK, Faith JJ, Rey FE, Cheng J, Duncan AE, Kau AL, Griffin NW, Lombard V, Henrissat B, Bain JR, Muehlbauer MJ, Ilkayeva O, Semenkovich CF, Funai K, Hayashi DK, Lyle BJ, Martini MC, Ursell LK, Clemente JC, Van Treuren W, Walters WA, Knight R, Newgard CB, Heath AC, Gordon JI. Gut microbiota from twins discordant for obesity modulate metabolism in mice. Science. 2013 Sep 6;341(6150):1241214. doi: 10.1126/science.1241214. PMID: 24009397; PMCID: PMC3829625.