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Functional Medicine Friday Start Improving Your Gut Health Today

Updated: Aug 31, 2023

Hey Dr. McNamara here at McLaughlin Care, and I'm coming at you with some Functional Medicine Friday information. So today what I would like to talk about is a little bit of our microbiome, those little bugs that live inside of us and within our gut and how they improve health and how we can use certain strategies after this presentation to improve our own gut microbiome, to improve our immune system and to improve our overall health.

So let me go ahead and share my screen and we will get started. So a lot of times when we think about our immune system, we think about white blood cells and bone marrow and things like that and our lymphatic system, but the majority of our immune system is actually located in our gut and which is termed our microbiome.

And today I just want to talk about the importance of microbiome diversity and how to increase the diversity of the microbes within our guts to improve our overall health and wellbeing. So let's begin. So how does the microbiome diversity improve my health? Well, it does this by reducing inflammation and improves immune function and improves cardiovascular health.

It can help with weight loss, it regulates our mood and our energy. It can increase focus, and it's also going to decrease your risk of many diseases, such as Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, and irritable bowel syndrome, as well as others that we won't get into today. But it is extremely important to have a healthy gut microbiome.

The science is coming out for a long time that promotes prebiotics, probiotics, eating fiber to improve health. But just recently a study came out that we're going to talk about it was an exploratory study and what they were trying to look at was how do different foods affect our foods or diet affect gut microbiota? And what they did was they gathered all this data from hundreds of patients, different genders, ethnicities, and backgrounds.

So they had a great population. And what they were looking at specifically was the difference between diets that were very high fiber diets, various diets that were really unchanged, but had the additional servings of fermented foods each day. And then they looked at the microbiome diversity as well as a multitude of immune and inflammatory markers in both the blood and stool samples using some advanced Omix testing.

So this is the title of the study. We'll send a link also on this post. So you guys have that. If you want to learn more about this and read it the more in depth, but the title of the study, gut microbiota targeted diets, modular human immune status. So this is a little snip bit .

The abstract that what they say is diet modulates, the gut microbiome and the gut microbes in it in turn can impact the immune system. So in this side of these two microbiota targeted dietary interventions, plant-based fiber, which is the high fiber one, or fermented fruits to determine how each influences the human microbiome and the immune system in healthy adults. So these weren't sick individuals, these were already healthy adults that met their criteria within the study.

So using a 17 week randomized prospective study designed, combined with Omix, which is the advanced testing that they do, which the study, if you want to read more, can get into those details. And they were looking at the microbiome and the host and this included extensive immune profiling and what they found was very different effects each diet. So what they found in the high fiber diets was that there was more of these enzymes that were good for destroying carbohydrates, which are called Kaz zines, but it didn't actually increase the microbiome within an individual's gut and actually inflammatory markers in some individuals were higher, but what they also saw was high fermented foods.

So this diet, they showed a steadily increase of microbiota diversity and actually decreased inflammatory markers. And they saw the, these increases in by diversity as they added more of the servings of the fermented foods. So they indicate that their results show that fermented foods may be valuable in countering the decreased microbiome diversity and increase inflammation persuasive in the industrial society.

So in an industrial society, we lose some of that diversity just based on some of the cleanliness and the foods we eat. And although that sounds like, you know, it's not potentially bad, it actually does reduce that diversity, which can have poor effects on our health. So here are some more picks out of the discussion of this article. And what they talk about is poor diet is a note contributed to what they term non-communicable chronic diseases, and they're rapidly spreading globally as more populations adopt our poor Western diet. Unfortunately, furthermore, many of these communicable chronic diseases, they're driven by inflammation and immunological states that could be affected by our gut microbiome.

So what they found in this study was that high fiber high fermented foods consumption influenced the microbiome and human biology in very distinct ways as mentioned earlier. And the main impact was on that gut microbiota diversity. And another thing that is associated with this low gut microbiome diversity is an increase in these non-communicable chronic diseases such as obesity and diabetes.

So again, what they found was fiber rich foods contain an abundance of microbiota accessible carbohydrates MACs, which provide a fermentable carbon source for the microbiome, despite the sustained levels of diverse plants, dietary fiber, and these participants, they did not observe the big shift in microbiome diversity that they did see with the fermented food group. And then the inflammation was also associated with that. And they conclude that with increased microbiome, diversity observed in the fermented food, they also noticed the numerous improvements of the inflammatory markers.

And this is consistent with the broad range of studies demonstrating the link between declining microbiome, microbiota diversity and the increase of these non-communicable chronic diseases. So here's a little image that'll kind of clear up some of that information I just talked about and those individuals that had a high fiber diet, they had increased in these enzymes and short chain, fatty acids, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

But when you look at the personalized immune response that was associated, it actually shows as their diversity went down, the inflammation actually went up and that is something we want to avoid as opposed to looking at the high fermented food diet group. And what we can see in this group is they have an increase in that microbiome, diversity and decrease in inflammatory signals.

And these signals are things you may have heard of like TNF alpha or interleukin six that are kind of pro-inflammatory in a deleterious way for our bodies. So just to go over the highlights again of the study, the high fiber diet actually reduced the number of healthy promoting bacteria strains. Some test subjects even had an increase in their inflammation compared to baseline before the intervention individuals that ate two to five servings of fermented foods a day experienced an increase in the number of health promoting bacteria strains.

So the exact opposite effect, these improvements in microbiota diversity were directly linked to the benefits in anti-inflammatory markers. So the main conclusion we all should be consuming at least two to four servings of fermented foods a day to decrease inflammatory markers, improve autoimmune dysfunction, as well as regular immune function and to provide an optimal environment for our microbiome to thrive.

So we can receive all these benefits. So how are we going to apply this information? Well, this is very easy. We can start doing it today. First thing we need to do is we just need to increase that fermented fiber intake on a daily basis.

So a way we could accomplish this is to start with one serving and move up slowly to about four to five servings each day, because that seemed to be the optimal amount of servings in this study. An example of this start with one tablespoon. The great thing about fermented foods versus the high fiber foods is the high fiber foods are generally a lot of carbohydrate based foods. And those servings can get a little larger with the fermented foods that mostly servings are about a tablespoon.

So I use sauerkraut for this example, and what you want to do is start with a tablespoon a day for about a week, and then the next week move up to maybe two tablespoons a day and then keep doing that until we get up to about four to five tablespoons daily, and also try multiple fermented foods. So maybe start with something like sauerkraut, cause it's easy. Kimchi is also very good.

You can do pickles to fear is that drink? You can also drink and Kombucha is a very good drink with fermented foods in there as well, but try all these different food items so we can find out what's most palatable for you as an individual. And then you can consistently consume these foods on a daily basis, which is what's mostly important. So that's all I have for you today.

The main message is let's increase that fermented food intake and notice that our gut microbiome will get better. And other aspects of our health will get better. So if you know someone that could benefit from this information, please like, or share our video. And if you haven't yet go ahead and like our group on Facebook, the Upside of Wellness, where it would be giving more information about these kinds of health related topics on a weekly basis.

So thank you. And we'll see you soon.

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