Republished with permission via Aussie Health Co

Weight gain. Depression. Anxiety. High cholesterol. Unbalanced hormones…

These are just a few of the side effects that can be caused if a particular part of your body is unhealthy.

So what’s this unsuspecting yet incredibly powerful organ?

Your gut.

You see, housed within your body–primarily in the gut–is an entire ecosystem of symbiotic microbial cells, known in their entirety as the microbiome.

Your Unique Microbiome

Your microbiome of bacteria, viruses, and fungi has been with you since birth. And while a third of gut bacteria is shared with most people, at least two-thirds are unique to you. In fact, new studies show that a person’s microbial “fingerprint” may be used for identification in forensic cases.

In a study that appeared in the journal  PNAS, lead author  Eric Franzosa from Harvard Chan said:

“Linking a human DNA sample to a database of human DNA ‘fingerprints’ is the basis for forensic genetics, which is now a decades-old field. We’ve shown that the same sort of linking is possible using DNA sequences from microbes inhabiting the human body—no human DNA required. This opens the door to connecting human microbiome samples between databases, which has the potential to expose sensitive subject information—for example, a sexually-transmitted infection, detectable from the microbiome sample itself.”

Your Second Brain

All these gut “bugs” play a powerful physical and psychological role via a vast network of about 100 million nerves found in the lining of the gut, known as the enteric nervous system (ENS).

This complex system, sometimes called the “second brain”  communicates so closely with your brain, that when one is unhealthy or imbalanced, the other one is profoundly affected.

The gut-brain connection is so strong that disturbances in either can cause a leaky gut and may have the following implications for your health:

  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Digestive problems
  • Sleep issues
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Lack of focus
  • Skin issues
  • Appetite dysregulation
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • And so, so much more

Your Gateway to Health 

If you’ve experienced any of the symptoms above, you may have a bacterial imbalance or leaky gut syndrome (this is where the intestinal lining has developed holes, allowing food particles, bacteria, and more to permeate the gut wall and pass into the bloodstream).

The good news is, it IS possible to repair and restore your gut and microbiome to its optimal state of health. Here are 3 steps to get you started.

1. Diet

Eating sugar and processed foods is like throwing a party for the bad bacteria. Nourish the good ones with a variety of healthy, non-processed foods.

2. Take Probiotics

A quality probiotic will go a long way in restoring your gut and microbiome. If you’re overwhelmed by the probiotic section at the store, here’s a guide that will help you choose a good one (and will also help you know what to look out for!).

3. Reduce Stress

Yes, as mentioned earlier, your emotional and mental state influences your gut flora – and vice-versa. While eliminating stress may seem next to impossible, at least minimize it during mealtimes, by allowing yourself to relax, and avoiding negative conversations.

How have you taken measures to heal your gut? We’d love to hear! Please share your comments below.

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