Writing Exercise #3

Brainstorm a list of behaviors that an individual could engage in that could cause changes to their gut microbial community. Pick 3 specific behaviors from your list. For each, discuss how that behavior could change the microbial community and the potential health impacts (beneficial, detrimental, neutral) that could result for the individual’s health.

Dr. Shawn Massoni

Diet:

Ever heard of the saying “ you’re what you eat” well your diet plays a major contributor to your gut microbial communities. Maintaining a varied diet has beneficial impacts on health and gut microbial communities. Healthy proportions of fruits and vegetables go a long way to creating a healthy lifestyle and also a healthy gut microbial community. As well as the fermentation of vegetables such as cucumbers, carrots, and radishes can bring in healthy probiotics beneficial to bacteria.

Probiotic Supplements:

If you find yourself missing a lot of key fruits and vegetables that help aid a healthy gut microbial community an alternative is taking probiotic supplements. Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts which are very good for you and your digestive system. There are many over-the- counter probiotic supplements that aim to promote digestive health, gut barrier integrity, micronutrient synthesis, and much more. It’s important to understand that probiotics are a natural supplement and not a medicine while also reading their descriptive claims of what the supplement aims to promote.

Stress: 

Not every change you make in life promotes healthy gut bacteria, it’s found that stress can negatively impact your gut bacteria. The autonomic and circulatory systems carry distress signals to the gut using immune cells as messengers that convey psychological stress to the gut, the pathway these immune cells go through show heightened inflammation that frequently accompanies stress and depression triggers blooms of pathogenic bacteria that encourage dysbiosis and a leaky gut (Zeng MY, Inohara N, Nuñez G Mucosal Immunol. 2017). So next time you get stressed don’t think it’s all in your head also think about the impact it does to your gut microbial community.

Sources:

Madison, A., & Kiecolt-Glaser, J. K. (2019). Stress, depression, diet, and the gut microbiota: Human–bacteria interactions at the core of psychoneuroimmunology and Nutrition. Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences, 28, 105–110. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cobeha.2019.01.011

Zeng M, Inohara N, Nuñ ez G: Mechanisms of inflammationdriven bacterial dysbiosis in the gut. Mucosal Immunol 2017, 10:18.

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