Everyone’s gut is as individual and unique as their thoughts and tastes. That’s because of the gut microbiome.
The microbiome, or the ecological community of microorganisms living in the digestive tract, is finally being investigated as the source of millions of ailments — from acne, weight gain, anxiety, sleep disorders, and more.
And while we’re constantly seeking out new knowledge with regard to changing our behaviors and lifestyles to support a more healthy gut…
It’s important to remember that not all guts were created equally.
Everyone’s gut make-up looks a little bit different.
The gut of someone who was breastfed vs. bottle-fed will look different. The gut of a heavy drinker vs. a tea-totaller will look different. The gut of someone who was born via cesarean section vs. through a vaginal birth will look different.
So it stands to reason that there wouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all approach to healing and reviving a damaged gut.
Instead, you can now test your gut microbiome with at-home kits for a lab to test. When you receive your results, you learn exactly what your gut microbiome looks like.
What this means is that you can design a personal approach to feeding your gut the stuff that it needs, instead of pounding kombucha and hoping the probiotics work. (Although, since everyone’s gut microbiome is different, that does work for some!)
Let’s look at what a gut microbiome test actually does…
The Test Itself
In order to send in a test, you’ll need to contact the company you’d like to analyze your microbiota, and they’ll send you your kit.
Typically, you’ll send back a fecal sample (usually just swabbed from used toilet paper). This will give the scientists working on your case the purest look at the genetic make-up of your gut flora.
Then, the lab will analyze your sample using methods ranging from 16s RNA ribosomal sequencing to metatranscriptomic sequencing. These are just fancy ways of saying they’ll isolate and order the DNA in the sample.
What this shows you…
Is which species of bacteria are present, most active, and least active in your microbiome. It will also show you how your microbiome stacks up to the average colony of gut bacteria.
How This Helps You
Sufferers of chronic diseases, or even chronic conditions, can safely bet that the composition of their gut flora is out of whack.
Perhaps the bacteria population is less diverse than it should be. Perhaps the lack of a certain strain of bacteria is the root cause of an ongoing issue. Perhaps your gut microbiome is overrun with harmful bacteria because of the kind of diet your body is used to.
The tests can tell you that you lack the bacteria to process gluten.
They can tell you that you have too much of the bacteria that helps you maintain a healthy weight.
They can tell you whether or not your body is benefiting from antioxidant intake.
They can tell you if the amount of iron in your diet is feeding pathogens in your gut.
And much, more more.
Always More to Learn
The scientific community hasn’t drawn conclusive results on whether a suboptimally functional microbiome is the cause of disorders or a symptom of the disorders.
But finding out exactly what is flourishing or starving in your body’s “second brain” will give you insight on how to move forward and take care of yourself.
Your gut’s conversation with your brain, your immune system, and the rest of your body’s functions is constant.
The way that you treat your gut affects what it tells the rest of your body to do — change levels of a certain hormone, encourage the immune system to fight against an invader, regulate your brain chemicals — differently based on delegation needs.
Some microbiome testers even run your data through their databases in order to send you dietary recommendations based on their findings to help you diversify your gut microbiome in actional ways!
Even if you think your gut is healthy…
Getting to know it better can only help you on your journey to run your body the cleanest and purest way you can.