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Natural Awakenings Tampa Florida

Understanding Your Gut Microbiome and Implementing Changes

by Prudhvi Karumanchi 

You probably know how important your gut health is to your overall health. Eighty percent of your immune system is in your microbiome—your body’s bacteria—which assist with just about every process, including helping you to digest your food, think clearly and even maintain a healthy weight.

Your microbiome is housed in your gut and the other openings of your body such as your mouth and nose. When your gut microbiome is balanced, you stay healthy, in a good mood and have a lot of energy. When your gut microbiome is out of balance, you are setting yourself up for a host of health issues, including weight gain, diabetes, brain fog and cancer.

Unfortunately, an unbalanced gut microbiome is common today. Due to years of following diets high in processed foods and sugar, consuming conventionally raised meat and dairy products full of hormones, plus rounds of antibiotics, too many antacids and chronic stress, most of us have impaired gut health.

Genes Don’t Matter but Your Gut Microbiome Genes Do

We usually place the blame for everything from our weight to our mood on our genes. Why is it that some people are healthy when they consume chocolate every day while others maintain a strict diet and struggle with digestive symptoms? It’s because, unlike our genes, our microbiome genes are very different.

The good news is that you can change your gut microbiome. You see, the average lifespan of a bacterium in your microbiome is 20 minutes! You have the opportunity every time you eat to begin to change the population of your gut microbiome. This is good news because we can begin to change our gut microbiome and its genes, one meal at a time, and even achieve a healthy gut very quickly.

How to Improve Your Gut Microbiome in a Day

There are a number of factors that contribute to the health of your gut microbiome, including your environment, the amount of exercise and sleep you get, and of course, stress. But the number one factor that determines what microbes live in your gut is your diet.

1.      Eat the right foods. When you regularly eat a variety of healthy, non-processed foods, your microbiome becomes programmed to work for you. The more varied your diet, the more flexible your microbiome becomes, allowing for that occasional dessert.

2.      Remove sugar and processed foods from your diet. Refined carbohydrates, sugar and processed foods get absorbed quickly into your small intestine without any help from your microbes. That means your gut microbes stay hungry, so they begin snacking on the cells that line your intestines, causing what we call leaky gut.

3.      Get your carbohydrates from vegetables and low-sugar fruits. Eating a lot of leafy green vegetables will help plant your gut with healthy and diverse bacteria. Be sure to get a balance of healthy fats and protein with each meal as well.

4.      Include fermented foods in your diet. Fermented foods seed your gut with healthy bacteria. Eat sauerkraut, pickles, kimchi, kefir, yogurt (not processed) and kombucha. These foods are rich in prebiotics.

5.      Take a high-quality probiotic. Nearly everyone can benefit from supplementing with a good quality probiotic. Probiotics help maintain your gut’s ecosystem as well as the ecosystem of your respiratory tract and urogenital tract.

6.      Limit antibiotics. Try to limit your use of antibiotics. While they are necessary sometimes and can be life-saving, most antibiotics are over-prescribed. Be sure to consult with us about whether you, or your children, need an antibiotic.

7.      Support your digestion. Many people have low stomach acid but think they have too much and take antacids. Supplement with a digestive enzyme. This can help you digest your food better and get rid of your symptoms, such as gas, bloating and heartburn. You could simply try drinking lemon and water, or mix one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a little water before each meal and see if your symptoms improve.

8.      Get in a relaxed state. One of the most important factors to healing your gut is your own consciousness. Your gut is your second brain. If your microbiome is out of balance, you may feel anxious, depressed or tired. You may also suffer from memory problems or brain fog.

At Integrative Therapeutics, we are dedicated to fixing issues related to microbiome, adrenal fatigue, thyroid dysfunction, diabetes, chronic pain, and autoimmune diseases. We treat people from a functional medicine perspective. Where traditional medicine often uses medication to mask and relieve symptoms, functional medicine uses a holistic approach to discover and alleviate the root cause of the problem. We look at the whole body-and-being and see where you may have deficiencies, need support or changes in habits that will address and remove the root causes of your symptoms. You are much greater than the sum of your symptoms! We see all of who you are and work with you to create your healthy, happy life.

Dr. Prudhvi Karumanchi is board certified in Sleep Medicine, Internal Medicine, Geriatrics and Functional Medicine. He is a Certified Energy Mastery Practitioner and a practicing Emergency Medicine Board Certified Physician who takes a complete approach to your healthcare.

 Integrative Therapeutics is located at 8320 Stone Run Ct., Tampa. Call to schedule your appointment, 813-322-6171.