What is the Microbiome?
- Gut microbiome: consists oftrillions of microorganisms that live inside our body. In a healthy person, these “bugs” coexist peacefully. (1) When I say gut microbiome, I’m referring to all the microorganisms that reside in your colon.
- Microbiota: refers to the actual bugs by type that reside in the microbiome. The microbiome is the ECOSYSTEM and the microbiota refers only to the ORGANISMS. More info on this, here.
- Gut Dysbiosis: refers to gut bacteria that gets out of balance.
The latest evidence and scientific research is showing that one of the most critical processes of human adaptation happens in utero. This means that our children’s health develops before we even conceive. We pass on to our children not only our genes but our microbes which will determine their future health.
So, am I passing my gut bacteria to my baby? Can this influence their future health? YES! You GUT it. In addition, to all the changes that occur during gestation, evidence suggests that your gut microbiome changes too. This has a tremendous influence on our kids’ immunity and predisposition to any disease.
The role of the microbiome is so critical that it is also related to fertility. If you’ve been struggling to get pregnant, you should know that the composition of the gut microbiome can affect metabolic homeostasis and the ability of women or men to conceive. Even a new study has demonstrated how gut microbiota dysbiosis may drive the development of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and insulin resistance (2), which are one of the common causes of infertility these days.
As you can see, balancing your microbiome is critical for you and your future babies. So what can you do?
The process of regeneration of the microbiome starts by optimizing your health before you even conceive. By doing this, you not only increase your chances of conceiving naturally, but you also increase your chances of successful In vitro fertilization (IVF) or Intrauterine insemination (IUI).
- Nurture your gut with food: aim to eat real food (fruits, veggies, and animal protein) avoid processed foods, sugar, gluten, and vegetable oils. Try to buy as much organic food as possible as high amounts of pesticide residues have an impact on male and women’s hormonal activity. (5)(6)
- Vaginal delivery: is a critical part of the process as babies born vaginally have different gut bacteria — their microbiome — than those delivered by cesarean. (6) So, if you can’t have a natural delivery, try to expose your child to nature, animals, and microbes as soon as possible, as this will help them to build good bacteria (7)
- Breastfeed: now you know why midwives and everyone is making a big deal about it! Yes, you will pass on your bacteria to your baby in the milk. Therefore, your diet and health are critical. (8)
- Avoid antibiotics as much as possible: antibiotics cause changes in the gut bacteria and microbiome. So, if you or your baby have to take antibiotics for an unavoidable reason, make sure to take probiotics and increase the consumption of fermented foods if you tolerate them. (10)
- Connect with nature and get exposed to bacteria: we live in societies that have high standards of cleaning, and we got used to using hand sanitizer an average of 10 times a day during Covid! We’re not getting enough germs and our children need that exposure. Allow them to play on dirt and don’t panic if they eat it. (9)
- Reduce toxicity exposure: most foods have toxins or residues of pesticides that can cause leaky gut. Reduce this toxins by choosing organic whenever possible. (10)
My top three gut superfoods:
- Poached eggs Kimchi and avocado on a slice of fermented buckwheat bread.
- Cold kombucha with a splash of lemon
- Green juice (Celery – spinach- parsley-cucumber-blueberries)