If you’ve done much research into how to improve your overall health and well-being recently, you’re probably at least somewhat familiar about the importance of the proper balance of gut bacteria. Unfortunately, there is still only a small percentage of people who are aware of just how important gut health is, so it deserves a refresher either way as it can be a true life-changer.
Numerous studies, such as 2014 research entitled Altering Community of Gut Bacteria Promotes Health and Increases Lifespan, have revealed that the wealth of benefits gut bacteria bring may almost be considered a real-life fountain of youth as the key to a longer, happier and healthier life. Most people understand that eating a nutritious diet filled with lots of fruits and vegetables, limiting the “junk” and exercising on a regular basis are important factors in good health, as well as losing stubborn pounds and maintaining an ideal weight, but few think about gut bacteria.
It’s time to change that – and quickly, as we all have around 40 trillion of these microorganisms in our gut, and all of those bacteria are significantly affecting our lives, every single day. Those trillions of bacteria that are collectively referred to as gut microbiome include some 500 different types, and each of these species has its own unique benefits.
Just a few of the responsibilities healthy “good” gut bacteria have included:
- Helping to regulate the immune system and fight off infection
- Producing chemicals, substances, and metabolites that affect and benefit health like short chain fatty acids
- Aiding in the production of “feel good” hormones like serotonin
- Aiding the digestion process
- Regulating one’s appetite and helping to manage weight
- Helping to repair tissue damage and injuries
- Playing a role in whether or not we’re in a good or bad mood, and controlling emotions, which means sayings like “going with our gut instincts” may actually be quite literal.
9 Signs Your Gut Bacteria Is Out Of Balance
When your gut is out of whack or has an improper balance of good and bad bacteria, it can lead to a host of health problems. Just some of the symptoms you might experience include:
- Weight gain
- Digestive issues like constipation, gas, bloating, diarrhea or acid reflux
- Feeling depressed or anxious
- Getting ill more often
- Skin rashes
- Painful muscles and/or joints
- Breathing problems, including a frequent stuffy nose and respiratory infections
And that’s just the short list.
Have you ever been determined to change your diet for the better only to find that it seems impossible to stick to? It’s probably not just a lack of willpower. Studies, including 2014 research from the University of California at San Francisco, have suggested that your gut bacteria could be to blame, at least in part. The gut microbiome, the experts say, affects our moods, and our cravings, in order to ensure that those bacteria get what they want through the food we eat. In fact, they note that this may be the root of the skyrocketing obesity problem in many places around the world.
When we have a proper balance of gut bacteria, our brains function better too. A 2013 study out of the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine demonstrated that women who consumed beneficial bacteria regularly, experienced numerous positive changes in various areas throughout their brains, including improvement in cognition, sensory and emotion processing. With a better balance of gut bacteria, memory may even be improved in those who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. In a 2016 clinical trial, researchers discovered that patients who took probiotics (healthy bacteria), experienced a number of positive metabolic changes like reduced markers for insulin resistance, decreased triglyceride levels and lower markers for C-reactive protein, which measures inflammation in the body.
How Our Gut Bacteria Can Become Imbalanced
The majority of our ancestors traditionally ate a diet that was made up of a lot of fermented and raw foods that are known to contain lots of healthy, beneficial bacteria. But in more recent years, our modern diets have significantly changed.
Far too many of us consume a diet filled with junk like processed food, fast food, foods that are high in sugar and potentially harmful additives and so on, which disrupts the proper balance of gut bacteria. In those foods, that good bacteria we need for our health is irradiated, pasteurized, and often processed beyond recognition. The result is the consumption of an excess of unhealthy, harmful bacteria in the gut. Those “bad” bacteria result in the “good” bacteria becoming depleted. Eventually the unhealthy takes over, which is what frequently results in a wide range of health problems.
Is Your Gut Bacteria Out of Balance?
If you’re experiencing any type of health issues whatsoever or noticed any of the gut imbalance symptoms mentioned earlier, it’s possible you have an imbalance of gut bacteria. Luckily it’s easy to find out for sure.
How To Test Your Gut Bacteria At Home
So how do you know for sure? These days, there’s testing that can be conducted for just about everything it seems, even your DNA, and fortunately, there is a new type of testing that allows us to get a good picture of just what’s happening inside our gut.
This testing is revolutionary when it comes to our health in order to understand the true state of our gut microbiome. Each living organism produces molecules called RNA from their DNA, and the new Viome test takes microbiome management to a whole new level by sequencing RNA in the stool which helps to quantify all living microorganisms in the gut, including not only bacteria, but yeast, fungi, viruses, archaea, bacteriophages, parasites and more, at the species and strain level.
The ability to sequence RNA in the gut results in a much more in-depth look at the gut and gut health than ever before, for a complete picture of everything that’s happening in it, and what you can do to correct an imbalance, and maintain a healthier balance.
The ability to analyze genes that microbes express allow us to identify which metabolites they produce and helps in determining their role in the body’s ecosystem. When we understand metabolites, we can also learn how to affect metabolites with the food we eat, through supplements, and lifestyle factors in order to positively change our balance of gut bacteria. We can take control of our bodies, helping to minimize the production of harmful metabolites while maximizing the production of those that benefit us, improving our health and wellness in the fastest way possible.
At Home Testing and More Complete Results
Until this new testing came about, testing the gut was something that had to be requested by a physician, and typically cost thousands of dollars. Despite the high price tag, using the old 16S method of sequencing, the results were incomplete, which meant we just couldn’t get a total picture of our gut health in order to make those all-important changes.
Viome, as mentioned, conducts a very specialized form of testing referred to as metatranscriptome sequencing, looking at RNA and metabolites to get the deepest picture of the gut possible. The difference between the old method and this new technology is that a Viome test can identify all of the bacteria and other living organisms in the gut, whereas, 16S only identifies just a fraction. It can even pinpoint down to the specific species and strain level, as well as measure microbe/biochemical activities, unlike 16S.
With this test, Viome can also identify missing metabolites and tends to be very consistent, meaning there is less variation in the results, and less chance for error. It provides a much more precise look that allows you to act on the results, and follow them up with the necessary diet and lifestyle changes to get your gut bacteria back in balance. Once the gut bacteria is properly balanced, we can expect to enjoy much better health, well-being and even a longer, happier life with the ability to do everything we’ve always dreamed of doing, without physical or mental limitations.
Even better? We can do the test right in our own bathrooms.
There are few of us who could honestly say we enjoy going to the doctor, but this new technology out of the renowned Los Alamos National Lab in California, allows us to get a good look at the bacteriophage, or viruses that impact our bacteria and microorganisms, so we know who and what they are and what they are doing, right from the comfort of home.
What You’ll Find Out After Testing
Viome also conducts a metabolic intelligence test that’s done at home in order to look into other aspects of your health like your insulin and blood sugar levels, heart rate, urine pH, stress response and more.
You’ll find out many things that can help you transform your health for the better, including:
- Which beneficial bacteria your gut is missing
- How you can maximize good bacteria species to enhance gut health
- Whether or not you’re lacking beneficial metabolites, and which potentially harmful ones are lurking
- The best ratio of carbohydrates, protein, and fats to consume in a diet individualized for you
- The prebiotics your body needs to provide a foundation of good gut health
- How you can improve digestion and optimize absorption of nutrients in your gut
- Specific diet recommendations that will allow you to enjoy more energy, better focus, an optimal weight and greater well-being
How Testing Works
Basically, you’ll send your poop in to get tested. While testing your poop probably doesn’t sound all that pleasant, or exciting to do, the results certainly are.
All you do is order the test kit online from Viome. You can find it right here. The company will send the test kit to your home, and you’ll complete it right there in your bathroom. You’ll do what you normally do – poop, it’s that simple. There’s no lab visit or physician required whatsoever. Then, you’ll mail your poop to Viome.
Viome processes the samples at its state-of-the-art facility in order to generate a picture of your body at the most detailed, molecular level. You’ll receive the personalized analysis of your gut a few weeks later, along with recommendations for the best diet, ways to improve any chronic issues, how to feel better, and keep that gut bacteria in balance.
The tests are very detailed, painting a clear picture of what’s going on within your gut microbiome. You’ll get a gut health score that reflects the health of your particular gut and what it’s telling you. As we all have different experiences and lifestyles and experiences, it’s really not possible to compare one person to another, which is why taking an individual test is necessary to determine deficiencies, and/or whether or not your body is unable to function properly in ways that have never been tested before. It can uncover the answer to questions as such:
- Can your body adequately absorb the vitamin D it needs from the sun?
- How much unhealthy, bad bacteria is currently in your body?
- Is your body able to create vitamin B6 efficiently?
Those are only a few examples of what the Viome tests can reveal. By analyzing the results, it can determine if your cellular pathways are compromised. Gut bacteria are necessary for completing those functions and can be identified and then built up through eating the proper diet and making lifestyle changes that are specifically designed for each individual’s unique needs.
You’ll get lots of practical food recommendations and interpretations – and, you might be surprised by some of the foods it suggests you avoid until you eliminate them from your diet and enjoy the results of better health and wellness.
How To Get Started
Want to try testing your gut bacteria for yourself? Order the Viome testing kit here, follow the simple instructions and await your personalized results. Then simply follow the personalized food and nutrition plans and see how much your health improves.