The Microbiome: What We Know

Friendly Bacteria

The microbiome is one of the hot topics in the world of diet and nutrition science. Many claims are being made that attempt to associate “healthy” and “unheathy” microbes in the gut with certain diseases, e.g. Parkinson’s,  depression and even autism.

Here are some facts:

The gut microbiome is the most complex ecosystem in the world.

Diversity in the microbiome leads to health and is governed by our diet.

Seventy percent of Americans have digestive related symptoms or disease.

Diets can change the biome in 24 hours; however, usually this change is temporary.

Probiotics are not the only answer. Prebiotics may play more of a  role in feeding the microbiome and keeping it healthy. Short chain fatty acids called butyrate and other metabolites can be  the fuel for intestinal bacteria. It may be protective against the dangerous low-grade inflammation thought to be caused by a high-fat /high sugar diet or artificial sweeteners.

Prebiotic Foods: 

Jerusalem artichokes Sauerkraut
Onions Maple Syrup
Chickory root (inulin) Peas
Garlic Legumes
Leeks Eggplant
Bananas Honey
Fruit Green Tea
Soybeans Yogurt, cottage cheese, kefir


The composition of the microbiome can help to shape a healthy immune system.

In my opinion, we still are in the infancy stage in knowing just what microbes are helpful or harmful and how they affect our health.  We do know that treatment with fecal transplants can help to treat a persistent condition called Clostridium difficle or C. diff that can occur after using antibiotics or being in the hospital. Just recently, a friend of mine says she had the disease without taking antibiotics or being hospitalized; therefore, it may occur in the community as well.

The following article provides some common sense knowledge about this topic with some advice on dealing with the issue of diet, prebiotics and probiotics for our health.


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