Is Feeding Your Microbiota a Bad Idea?

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Do you want to start feeling better?

Yes, Where Do I Start?

Is Feeding Your Microbiota a Bad Idea?

The microbiota is a huge topic of research right now, and it’s pretty exciting. However, there’s a lot of communication out there stating that in order to get healthy, you have to feed your microbiome. While that makes sense and it’s true for some people, this theory may not always be the best solution. Find out if it’s right for you.

If you need help with a gut-healing diet, click here

Is Feeding Your Microbiota a Bad Idea? - microbiota

Is Feeding Your Microbiota a Bad Idea?

The microbiota is the world of bacteria that lives in your gut and all over your body. In this case, we’re referring to the gut microbiota.

This is a huge area of research right now, and it’s pretty exciting. However, there’s a lot of communication out there stating that in order to get healthy, you have to feed your microbiome. While that makes sense and it’s true for some people, this theory may not always be the best solution.

When we look at different populations, it appears that having more bacteria accompanies health. We see this in hunter-gatherers like those in Africa. They have a very diverse microbiome and eat lots of high-fiber, high-prebiotic foods. We also see in Western populations that increased bacteria tends to correlate with better health. This is something that is being observed, but it doesn’t mean it’s the best option for everyone.

Hunter-gatherer Africans have a completely different lifestyle than Westerners, and their immune systems are totally different. Their immune systems are used to a very diverse microbiome. It’s quite different in Western cultures. If you didn’t grow up with a certain type of microbiota and exposure to a lot of different bacteria, trying to force that into someone later in life may end up being a bad idea. It may be too much for the immune system and may cause the immune system to go into attack mode, which can worsen symptoms.

We see evidence of this when we look at Western populations. In many interventions that feed bacteria, some patients will actually get worse. This is most commonly observed in inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome and celiac disease, where bacterial overgrowth might be an issue. These patients tend to do worse on a diet high in prebiotic foods that feed the gut bacteria. This likely occurs because the patient’s immune system is dysregulated and may attack increased amounts of gut bacteria that it’s not used to.

What seems to help these patients are diets that lessen the amount of bacteria in the gut. These diets may be low-FODMAP and/or lower-carbohydrate diets, which are diets that are lower in fiber and prebiotics.

This doesn’t mean everyone needs to be on a low-FODMAP or low-carb diet, but if you have immune system dysregulation and current digestive problems, this approach may be the most helpful for you.

Low FODMAP Guide-use with weekly tipJust because we see a more diverse microbiota in those who are healthier doesn’t mean that the solution is to force more bacteria into an immunocompromised gut. If the immune system is already attacking the gut and microbiome, you don’t want to add fuel to the fire.

Perhaps you’ve tried adding more fiber and prebiotic foods to your diet and it makes you feel worse. In this case, it’s best to listen to your body and eat the foods that make you feel better. A low-FODMAP diet may be a good place to start, and you can expand your food diversity from there.

Use the image to the right for your low-FODMAP food guide.


If you need help with a gut-healing diet, click here

What do you think? I would like to hear your thoughts or experience with this.

Discussion

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