The Microbiome and Stress
Gut health or as commonly referred to as the microbiome, makes up 90% of who you are!
If you took all the genes (Make up your DNA) from us it equals 26’000 genes (Sounds awesome)…but rice has 46’000 genes…So rice is more complex than us?
Yes & no 🙂
With our gut bacteria and including the bacteria we gain up to 100’000 genes.
They make up a significant portion of who we are so to not treat them well is to not be a good host. There are about 100 trillion cells, 1000 different species and 4-7000 sub sets of these.
These ‘bugs’ or more importantly how we treat them can result in the following diseases
- Anxiety disorders
- Auto Immune Diseases
- Type 2 Diabetes
To name but a few of recent findings in current research that have shown that these may be off shoots of a common problem and unhealthy gut microbiome we call a dysbiosis
But Why Do We Have a Dysbiosis?
Chronic stress can decrease the lining of your gut wall. Normally you have a thin wall and then a wall of mucous. The wall of mucous becomes less so that big bits of food particles will go into your blood stream ‘leaky gut‘ and then your immune system attacks this as an invader, the result = Bloating/cramping pain/skin issues.
Mach et al 2016 Journal of International Sports Nutrition
- states that physical and emotional stress changes the gut microbiome and decrease levels of Turicibacter Spp and increase Ruminococcus Gnauus which decreases hydration of the mucous and impairs the immune system!
Further more they showed that the:
microbiome acts like the endocrine (hormonal) system and secretes serotonin and dopamine (neurotransmitters) of the brain involved in mental illness (Decrease in serotonin can cause depression).
So what about other disease?
Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria help gut barrier function as well as out competing pathogenic bacteria.
Higher amounts of Staphylococcus and Pseudomonas have been directly linked to type 2 diabetes and obesity as these can actually pull more calories out of food! Ghaisas et al 2016, Pharmacology and therapeutics.
Further to this John et al 2016 Current Oncology Reports states that these bacteria induce the expression of certain genes related to lipid (fat) and carb metabolism leading to greater energy harvest.
The main issue is the distortion of Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes. There should be more Bacteriodetes to Firmicutes! Another study Koliada et al 2017 which studied obesity in the Ukraine also showed that higher levels of obesity in the disproportionate ratio of gut bacteria.
The Gut Brain Axis
Yes we have a gut brain axis (your gut talks directly to your brain and vice versa) which overlaps with the HPA axis (your stress response pathway). There is emerging evidence that because the gut actually produces most of your serotonin that extreme stress mental or physical can’t alter or inhibit this leading to depression etc. This when accompanied my other factors such as stress your mother went through whilst carrying you and childhood trauma can’t all affect long-term health both physical and mental as well as your gut microbiome. This will be discussed in another blog entry.
So what can we do now?
- Increase vegetables! Especially green veg (Broccoli, Spinach, Kale, green beans)and Cauliflower and some red veg like red peppers. We should get at a minimum 5 portions per day…it will be 7…it should be 10! A portion is a palm size
- Movement. Especially moderate intensity movement 30 minutes per day 5 days out of 7, outside! You need UV light on your skin
- Increase or at least be consistent with the consumption of Omega 3 fats and monounsaturated. Powerful anti-inflammatory and important in all cell function. Get these from oily fish (non farmed), Free range eggs (not barn reared), Walnuts, Chia seeds, Hemp seeds, Flax/Linseed…Get these daily. Mono fats such as Olive oil and Avacados are preferred.
- Take time for yourself! At least 5 minutes per day deep breathing in/out through your nose, better still do longer and outside if possible. It only takes 6 deep breaths to start to lower blood pressure…more is better in this instance.
- Increase the amount of fermented foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut, kombucha, kefir. Get these daily.
- Decrease refined carbs and fats...enough said on this!
To learn more One Zen runs one day workshops on ‘Health Performance’ in Milton Keynes but we are expanding. Stay tuned to this website for further details.
Love to all x