How healthy is your microbiome?
A healthy gut microbiome could add years to your life. But your digestive system and gut health might not be in the best possible shape if you have most of these signs or symptoms of potential trouble.
You aren’t taking care of your health
Your microbiome – a collection of microorganisms in your digestive tract – can reveal surprising things about you, and likewise, your habits can also reveal surprising things about your gut health. “The microbiome of your digestive system, or the gut microbiome, contains perhaps 5,000 to 10,000 different species of bacteria that provide essential services of nutrition and protection,” says biochemist Erika Angle, PhD, the CEO and co-founder of Ixcela, the internal fitness company. “The makeup of your gut microbiome is determined by your genes – however, it is the organ that can be most influenced by your actions, for example diet, exercise and stress management.”
You have GI problems
One of the things your bowel movements can reveal about your health is how healthy (or not) your gut microbiome is. Bloating, gas, indigestion, heartburn, diarrhoea and constipation can be caused by your gut flora being off. “These types of digestive issues often indicate a microbial imbalance in the gut,” says Dr Frank Lipman, bestselling author. “I often remedy this with a combination of diet recommendations, targeted supplements and lifestyle practices.” Probiotics can also help get you back on track, he says. A 2015 study in the BMJ journal Gut found that heartburn meds called proton-pump inhibitors, such as Prilosec, can ironically make gut bacteria less healthy.