Non-intentional choices that could be influencing my microbial communities potentially include the pH of the food I consume and the amount of water I drink. I would consider these things to be non-intentional because I don’t normally think about how these things could be affecting my body and my microbiota in particular. I think that the pH of the food I consume could end up having an impact on my microbiota because microbes flourish in environments with particular pHs. For example, if I need to take Pepto-Bismol or Tums I may end up creating a more basic environment in my gut even after passing through my acidic stomach. The amount of water I consume could influence my microbiota because like my own body, the microbes in my gut probably need water to live as well.
Intentional choices I make that may influence my microbiota include the vitamins I take, the varied amount of food groups I consume, and a sudden change in diet. Vitamins I take are meant to improve my health, but they could also be absorbed by the microbes in my gut unintentionally to improve, or harm, them. If I eat a varied amount of food groups, for example if I were to cut carbs out of my diet completely, I think this would also have an impact on my gut microbial communities. The bacteria in my gut that help digest carbohydrates so I can use them for energy may die off after not receiving enough, and when I consume carbs again it could be difficult for me to digest them. A sudden change in diet, for example the consumption of lactose by a lactose intolerant person (this doesn’t affect me personally), can have dramatic impact on microbes. Since that person doesn’t produce lactase, microbiota that do will digest the lactose, which can cause a lot of discomfort among other things.