Ok another gut story, right? Just what is a microbiota anyways? Apparently it’s an entire ecosystem, and Stanford scientists are studying this new land, and coming up with answers (and more questions) than they’ve ever dreamed of. Commonly and previously known as “gut flora” these microbes hang out in our gut and do way more than we ever thought before. We have these clusters of bacteria on our skin, in our mouths, and in a variety of mucosal areas on our bodies, but the ones in our guts are the most significant. With 1,000 known species roaming around in there, it’s no wonder scientists have a lot to figure out. The microbiota contains over 3 million types of genes (150 more than human genes) and more than half of this material is individual to your personal body. Not only does this system help to digest food, but it helps to produce vitamin B & K, builds our immune system (“it all starts in the gut”) and effects mental, emotional and physical health.
This microbiota is an ecosystem of microbial organisms living inside of us, and may hold the key to preventing and possibly reversing the most common American health diseases, such as obesity, diabetes, PCOS, IBS and other auto-immune disorders. If you have a medical condition, you’ll want to put your kale down and listen up for a minute. I mean, first of all, there are more of them than us (their cells out number ours by a factor of 10) and they host over a thousand species.
Add this to the list of just one more ecosystem we’ve treated poorly (Remember the Amazon? It’s not just an e-commerce website dedicated to getting humans their stuff Tuesday by 5.) Our health starts in our gut. Our blood starts to get made, essentially, in our gut. The whole “you are what you eat” thing is not a myth! Grandmothers unite! Their wisdom finally gets the spotlight.
So just how to we fix our microbiota and get happy healthy blood, organs, hormones, and eggs & sperm? That’s a great question. You can pick up that kale now…
Start by removing toxins. The work your way to eating healthier, starting with fermented foods (think yogurt, cultured veggies, etc.) and fermentable fibers and starches such as sweet potatoes and yams. Then start with the things you can do on the outside – managing stress, getting regular acupuncture treatments and adding something in to your daily routine to calm and regulate your nervous system like yoga or meditation, etc. And, if you do have a stomach bug, see your health care provider and let them know – some patients have to take anti-parasitic medications or antibiotics, while other only have to take herbs or change their dietary patterns. If you do have to take a medication, be sure to clean up the mess once the treatment is done. For example, if you’ve taken antibiotics, consider taking a course of pre & probiotics once you are done. If you have any questions about your health and your fertility, and how to clear and regulate your gut before starting the journey to getting pregnant, feel free to call Santa Monica Fertility – we are always happy to help!