As a young girl, I was on penicillin daily for six years, so I know first hand the affects of a compromised microbiome. Over the years, I had to work hard on healing the gut and even today I still need to be proactive, using many of the methods I explain below.
The term “microbiome” typically refers to the bacteria in our gastrointestinal tract (or gut), specifically in the large intestines. These bacteria live in harmony with other microbes in our gut such as viruses, fungi, and parasites. Some report up to 100 trillion bacterial cells reside in our gut microbiome, which cumulatively comprise more genetic makeup than all the other cells in our body.
These bacteria consists of commensal (friendly or good) bacteria and pathogenic (harmful or bad) bacteria. In the past, the common thought was that we had to kill off the “bad” bacteria and replenish the “good.” The problem is that when you try killing off the harmful bacteria, you also kill the good.
More recent research indicates that both types of bacteria, the good and the bad, live in harmony with each other. The key is to have enough good bacteria at all times so that the commensal bacteria keep the pathogenic bacteria in check.
You want to improve and maintain a balanced microbiome by eliminating the things that disrupt the microbiome and create a well rounded strategy to encourage bacteria diversity. Hint: It is more than just taking a probiotic (or prebiotic) supplement. Some of the suggestions below may surprise you! Continue reading