5 Secrets to a Healthy Microbiome

This week’s blog post is all about your microbiome, the colony of microorganisms that inhabits your body.

You’ll learn tips that go beyond the usual advice for gut health to help ensure your entire body stays in balance with the right bacteria.

If you want an effective immune system, positive mood, and healthy metabolism, keep reading!

And if you enjoy this one, don’t miss next week’s post, where I’ll be sharing tips to create your own probiotic recipes at home. (As the creator of Gut Kulture Shots, it’s my honor to share my experience and knowledge from working with naturally healthy fermented foods with you.)

Hint: Your Microbiome Is More Than Just Your Gut

You probably already know your microbiome plays important roles in immune health, infection risk, brain health, mood, metabolism, and inflammation.[1][2][3][4]

But what you may not realize is that nearly every area of your body contains bacteria and other microbes–not just your gastrointestinal tract.

After the gut, your mouth, skin, genitals, airways, and urinary tract contain the next-highest concentrations of microorganisms.[5]

And guess what? If you’re not taking care of other microbiome areas along with your gut, you’re not going to achieve the healthiest possible microbiome.

Use the tips below to fix that.

Tip #1: Count cosmetic chemicals and avoid antimicrobials.

A 2004 survey found the average adult uses 9 personal care products each day, containing 126 unique chemical ingredients.[6]

Because humanmade cosmetic chemicals aren’t tested for their effects on the skin microbiome, they have the potential to cause harmful bacterial imbalances.[7]Other problems associated with harsh chemicals include skin barrier damage and pH imbalances.[7]

Instead of using products laden with synthetic chemicals, you can take care of your skin microbiome with natural products with minimal amounts of synthetic ingredients.

Even if you don’t change your entire skin regimen, at least do yourself a favor and avoid antimicrobial soap and personal care products.

Research shows that antimicrobial soap kills “good” bacteria along with “bad,” which may impair your immune system.[8] Steer clear.

Tip #2: Get dirty!

Along with all the other benefits of being in Mother Nature, getting your hands and skin dirty is probably good for your skin microbiome.

Studies show that being in diverse ecosystems also helps your body’s ecosystem stay diverse, which can reduce the risk of skin problems, allergies, and immune issues.[9]

Some scientists also think that soil and forests can help repopulate your skin with an ancient form of bacteria that eats the ammonia in sweat, keeping your skin in balance and reducing body odor.[7]

That’s right, getting dirty regularly in good old soil may actually help prevent unpleasant smells!

Tip #3: Ditch antibacterial mouthwash.

Bad breath is the result of a bacterial imbalance, but does that make antibacterial mouthwash a good idea?

According to one recent study, the answer is: probably not.

A 2019 study found that by killing beneficial oral bacteria, over-the-counter mouthwash raised the risk of diabetes and high blood pressure and negated some of the benefits of exercise.[10]

Yikes.

Instead of using mouthwash to kill bacteria, focus on flossing, brushing thoroughly after meals, and eating healthy, low-carb foods.

Reducing your sugar and carb intake may improve your breath by “starving” smelly bacteria responsible for bad breath. And unlike mouthwash, it will reduce your risk of health problems and enhance the benefits of exercise.

Tip #4: Eat wild-fermented foods.

Wild-fermented foods are nature’s probiotic supplement.

Regular consumption of foods like yogurt, kimchi, kraut, fermented soy sauce, and others boosts the health of your gut bacteria population and helps reduce disease-causing bacteria.[11][12][13][14][15]

They may also reduce side effects from antibiotics, so it’s especially important to consume plenty of probiotic foods during and after an antibiotic regimen.

 

Tip #5: Use probiotics with antibiotics (and only when necessary).
Antibiotic therapy is a modern medical treatment that can potentially save your life, but the widespread or unnecessary use of antibiotics is a major factor behind gut health problems today.
Avoid taking antibiotics if possible, but if your doctor insists you take them, be sure to pair them with probiotic foods or supplements. Probiotic foods should always be a staple for a healthy gut, but you may benefit from extra when you take antibiotics.
Studies suggest probiotics may help prevent antibiotic-induced diarrhea and microbiome disruption during antibiotic therapy.
Always eat probiotic foods, drink Gut Kulture shots, or take other probiotic supplements away from your antibiotic doses. Spacing them apart a few hours allows the probiotics to work better.
References:

The Science

[1]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5570093/

[2]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4056765/

[3]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6389720/

[4]https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1021949819300122

[5]https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmicb.2018.01619/full

[6]https://web.archive.org/web/20111108120931/https:/www.ewg.org/skindeep/2004/06/15/exposures-add-up-survey-results/

[7]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7155096/

[8]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6101359/

[9]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5568566/

[10]https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31709856/

[11]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17217568

[12]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9440384

[13]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25209713

[14]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22040525



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