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Intestinal health – The power of the Microbiome

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A healthy and functioning gut is the foundation of our well-being. When the gut and its microbiome is out of balance, it can show up on many levels. Pain, intolerances, and even psychological impairments like depression are related. Find out what the microbiome is, why keeping it healthy is important, and what you can do about it in this post.

Microbiome - Trillions of Tiny Roommates

We share our body with a multitude of co-inhabitants – the microbiome. This refers to the trillions of microorganisms that can be found on our skin, for example, but especially in our intestines. The thousands of different strains of bacteria can weigh up to two kilograms. The microbiome, also called intestinal flora, performs important tasks and helps us to stay healthy. The microorganisms help metabolize food components, produce vitamins and other important substances, support blood clotting and ward off pathogens – 80% of the immune response is taken over by the intestine. In addition, the intestine is connected to the brain. Messenger substances are exchanged via this gut-brain axis, so the gut flora also influences our mood. How important intestinal health is for our well-being becomes clear once it gets out of balance.

Effects of a disturbed intestinal flora

The signs of a disturbed intestinal flora are manifold. Directly, this usually manifests itself in the form of abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation or bloating. This can occur, for example, in irritable bowel syndrome. The causes of this increasingly occurring disease are not yet clear, but a corresponding change in diet helps most sufferers very well. However, there are even more diseases which, contrary to the assumptions of many, are related to the intestinal flora. There is increasing evidence that a disturbed microbiome can contribute to skin problems, obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus, allergies and even depression. In particular, the link between gut health and mental well-being has become an exciting area of research in recent years.

Healthy intestine - healthy psyche?

Unfortunately, it is not quite that simple. The intestine and the brain have a reciprocal influence on each other. The microbiome produces certain messenger substances that affect the release of neurotransmitters such as dopamine. In mice, it was found that those with a lower diversity of intestinal bacteria had a hard time learning new things. The extent to which this can be transferred to humans has not yet been clarified. However, it has been found here that people with depression have fewer gut bacteria and a frequently altered microbiome has been found in quite a few diseases such as ADHD, schizophrenia or eating disorders. So the effects of our gut flora are far more extensive than long thought. But how do you support a healthy microbiome?

Strengthening intestinal health - knowing how

Above all, a healthy and balanced diet helps to keep the intestines healthy.  The intestinal flora are happy about a diet rich in fiber and plants and feel strengthened. Whole grains are the order of the day here. Also foods such as yogurt, soy products, sour cucumbers or sauerkraut provide for more variety of the intestine bacteria. You should also make sure you drink enough fluids. Sugar and alcohol, on the other hand, are not as beneficial and should only be consumed in small amounts. Exercise also supports intestinal health and helps digestion. Elaborate intestinal cures can usually be dispensed with; in fact, they can do more harm than good.

In case of complaints, whether physical or psychological, you can always think of the trillions of co-inhabitants in the intestine.

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