Microbiome testing to improve your gut health is what I believe to be the future of nutrition. If you want to achieve health and longevity then this is the route you should take. Why? Because the gut is where all diseases begin.
Microbiology testing is now available in South Africa. In fact, it’s got to be one of the best things I could’ve done for my body. I want to share this opportunity with you too.
As a healthy adult, we all harbour approximately 100 trillion bacteria in the gut alone. Your microbiome contains 10 times the number of human cells we possess. In fact, we only have 23,000 genes and our microbiome contributes 3, 300, 000.
You need to know this because the microorganisms in your body contribute to a wide variety of metabolic functions. That’s why you don’t want to miss out on this life-changing opportunity. Science has finally made it easier to master your health forever and be free of conflicting nutrition advice. Delivered to and from your doorstep.
Tired of fad diets? So am I!
The Power Of Your Gut-To-Mind Connection
This not just a breakthrough in science. It’s also a chance to learn about your microbiome and finally fix your gut. There is a very powerful connection between your gut and your mind. When your gut is ‘out of whack,’ you’ll experience it in your body’s functioning; from moods, to feelings, to thoughts, to cravings and even to behaviours.
This test will allow you to identify the role of your gut and specify the exact food your body requires to be healthy. In fact, you’ll even learn how certain microorganisms living in your gut interact with your body and will eventually impact your overall health.
What’s the goal? Essentially we want to find a sustainable way to prevent and reverse chronic diseases. Some of which include diabetes, anxiety, depression and obesity as well as to help empower all people to live healthier lives.
Microbiome Testing To Harness Your Health And Wellbeing
When it comes to your well-being, there’s no time like the present. That’s why it’s best to get your journey started now. Let’s begin with the microbiome.
You might be under the impression that bacteria and microbes are the bad guys. This just isn’t true. Scientists have taken years to determine the good bacteria from the bad. Particularly in cases where millions of people died from cholera or smallpox outbreak. Even in times like today where we’ve got a pandemic on our hands, bacteria are not the always the culprits.
It turns out that pathogens make up only a tiny minority of microorganisms. So often people generalise about microbes assuming that they’re all pathogens. This is like saying that all humans are serial killers. Most microbes are harmless and do significantly improve your health. That’s why scientists are now using them to solve the problem of chronic disease.
Testing Your Microbes
Your microbiome and the bacteria or other microorganisms it contains are your friends.
So, who is Viome? Originally from the United States, Viome South Africa is an innovative tech-wellness company that uses a technique called meta-transcriptomics. I won’t sugar-coat anything, but this part did gross me out a bit. Viome sends you an easy-to-use test kit that you use to take a small sample of your stool. Amazing what scientists can get out of analysing your poop.
Don’t worry, the kit comes with a very simple step-by-step guide to take you through the process. In the end, the results are totally worth the poop.
This process allows Viome scientists to take a sample of your microbes and get a comprehensive list of which kinds exist there. This list also determines what your microbes functions are in your body. I’m going to explain why this is highly valuable information for you to know.
Why Do You Need Gut Bacteria?
The bacteria in your microbiome are responsible for breaking down certain foods and producing beneficial substances like butyrate. Butyrate has a host of beneficial effects. It helps to maintain the gut lining, reduce insulin sensitivity, suppress inflammation, and even control our human gene expression.
My test results said I need to eat more asparagus, artichokes, raspberries and black beans. Apparently, they can all help increase my levels of butyrate. This really stood out to me. I finally realised why I was never feeling satiated. My hunger cues were always confusing and somehow my body was never quite satisfied even after eating a healthy meal. I’d also randomly crave something unusual in my diet, due to the low levels of butyrate in my body.
If you’re experiencing this too then there’s a good chance you’ve got some sort of a deficiency. This test will help you figure it out.
In fact, this is even more common among those who have an eating disorder, restrict food or yo-yo between fad diets. When we keep chopping and changing our diet, or restrict vital nutrients then we can harm the good health of our microbiome. This is because we’re not born with a healthy microbiome. You need to create it over time. However, if you lack the scientific knowledge then correcting this alone might be quite difficult.
What Is The ‘Microbiome?’
This is the term scientists call all of the microbes living in and on the human body.
Your microbiome forms a living layer over your skin and parts of the inside of your body. This includes the lungs and the digestive tract, from your mouth down to your colon. I had no idea that we hold so much power within our bodies until Viome found me.
I spent four years trying to make calculated nutrition decisions, counting calories, restricting food groups and attempting fad diets. Why? Because I was trying to be healthy, fit, and lose weight. Unfortunately, while I was at it. I messed up my hormones. I didn’t get my period for two years straight. Not only this, but I always felt deprived. I felt hungry because my body wasn’t getting what it actually needed.
Diet Plans Don’t Work Forever
The Viome test made me realise that that’s why generalised diets never work in the long term. Your body is clever and will realise what it’s missing or getting too much of, eventually, and it’ll fight back. These diets might get you close to your goals but will never work forever.
This is because the microbiome is not the same all over the body. This means that different microorganisms like to live in different ‘sites’ on the body. Just like people who enjoy living on the beach instead of the city. Essentially different microorganisms colonize different locations in or on your body.
A good example is the skin of the forearm. It often hosts species of bacteria that thrive in a dry, oxygen-rich environment. Whilst the colon hosts species that prefer to live in a warm, moist environment with little to no oxygen. This means that your microbiome needs highly specific kinds of nutrients to function optimally. You can’t just remove or add something to or from your diet and expect great results. What if your body rejects it or needs it to survive at it’s healthiest?
Although we’ve all got unique microbiomes, some of our bacteria and microorganisms are the same at certain sites.
Your Body’s Engine
Your gut is actually your colon. Researchers say that your colon has the highest number of bacteria and other microorganisms. That’s why there’s so much power in your digestive tract. There are hundreds of different species working together and competing with each other for food and ‘real estate‘ in your colon.
More importantly, your gut and your brain communicate constantly. How else do you explain the sudden onset of gut troubles when you get some bad news or you realize your wallet is missing?
Scientists have been studying this ‘gut-brain connection’ for decades. They know that the digestive tract (including the gut-based centric nervous system) and the brain (part of the central nervous system) send messages back and forth constantly.
Why Is The Microbiome Special?
It is the information about the role of the gut microorganisms in this two-way communication channel that matters most. Essentially scientists believe that your intestinal microbes directly affect your individual emotions, behaviours, and personality traits you experience in your daily life. More research is required. However, we know for sure that antibiotics can severely alter the microbes in your gut which can alter your behaviour. Therefore, this theory makes a lot of sense.
Whatever you consume, a banana or a slab of chocolate. This food enters your body and travels down the tubes in your digestive tract. During this process, the digestive processes successively break down the food. This happens so your body can absorb it easily. But you’re not just eating for yourself, you’re eating for your trillions of microorganisms, too. The activities of microbes in the gut play a vital role in the process of digestion. They make vitamins like B12 and K, that your body can’t make on its own.
Understanding Microbiome Digestion
And while many components of food are absorbed in the small intestine. Certain kinds of fibre called non-digestible carbohydrates make it down to the colon intact. These are called microbiota-accessible carbohydrates (MACs). Your microbes work hard to digest these carbohydrates into ‘metabolites.’
Ultimately, your body works like a recycling plant. It takes some of these bacterial end products and puts them to use. For example, take short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). These metabolites are produced when bacteria are given the opportunity to ferment MACs. They also help feed the cells in the colon and support other important health effects besides the gut. Read more about this process by downloading the full Viome book.
Boost Your Immune System
With a pandemic like COVID-19, I was even more interested in creating a healthy microbiome. Your small and large intestines have a tricky job. They’re responsible for the absorption of nutrients, water, and electrolytes while keeping out clever pathogens.
That’s why we need to make every effort to maintain a healthy microbiome in our gut. Your intestines are very vulnerable since they only consist of a single layer of cells. You need to focus on eating a wide variety of foods to create a diverse microbiome. However, these foods should be specific to you individually.
Your gut is so powerful that it has its own immune system. This is called the gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT). Your GALT needs to be strong because it directly affects your body’s immune system. It is responsible for keeping the peace with foreign materials that enter the gut. Your body might not tolerate certain molecules of food and other harmful substances. This is your protection system and it will declare war on any pathogens it encounters.
Your GALT Prevents Disease
Interestingly you need your immune system to be reactive, but not too reactive. I have learned that your microbiome is a finely tuned system. If you disrupt it, you’ll face infections or inflammation. Too much inflammation in the body increases your risk of a long list of chronic diseases. This includes cardiovascular disease (systemic or whole-body inflammation) to ulcerative colitis (inflammation at a particular body site – in this case, the large intestine)
BUT, your microorganisms play a big role in preventing this from happening. They teach the body to determine what bacteria are pathogens from the ones that are not. They do this by exchanging signals in a constant to-and-fro with the GALT.
That’s why you want to maintain a steady gut environment. There is a codependent relationship between commensal microbes and the immune system in the intestine. These interactions can have effects all throughout the body. Your gut microbes can transform food to give your body what it needs. In addition, they can keep the peace with foreign substances while fending off intruders. Therefore, it’s clear that gut microbes are essential for keeping you in good health.
And that’s barely scratching the surface.
What Makes Your Microbiome Unique?
There are a variety of factors that contribute to the composition of your highly individualized gut microbiome. This includes early-life conditions, your environment, your sleep, your fitness, and your stress levels. We are all different, which is why you need to test your own microbiome to discover the specifics. However, it seems that we all need to focus on taking probiotics, eating some fermented foods, and prebiotics. These will all significantly influence the composition of your gut microbiome
Everything you eat changes the gut microbiota composition and adjusts the major categories of bacteria in your gut. If you’re eating a vegan diet and tested your gut microbiota. Then you’d probably find you had a high proportion of Prevotella and other bacteria that metabolize plant-based dietary fibre.
But if you switch one day to a diet of all animal products. For example, the ketogenic-diet which is full of fatty meats, eggs, and cheeses. If you tested again, you’d see a shift toward fewer Prevotella and more Bacteroides. Most studies state that eating more plant-based foods will create a much more diverse microbiota. These are non-digestible fibres like lentils, cucumbers and potatoes.
Eat More Plants
This is what I identified in my test results. Most, if not all of my superfoods were plant-based. This doesn’t mean you need to be vegan or vegetarian.
In fact, we should eat a diverse diet and try not to cut out essential food groups. But increasing your consumption of plants can really increase the lack of fibre in the typical Western diet.
With little to no fibre, you will ultimately diminish an entire community of gut microbes. As I said, we all have a unique combination of microorganisms in our gut. These microorganisms affect how you metabolize food. This means that foods that are healthy for me might not be healthy for you.
Remember when gran or mom used to tell you to eat up all your veggies or get to bed early? Yeah? Well, they certainly weren’t thinking about all of the molecular mechanisms that affect the gut microbiota and health outcomes. They just went by general health guidelines.
I think we all know that there’s a strong link between diet and health. However, it’s very difficult to know what the effect of your food is after eating it when you can’t see them immediately. For example, if you’ve got a healthy microbiome then you would be less likely to be diagnosed with diabetes.
Nothing is set in stone though. Viome says that your microbes can change as soon as there’s a sudden change in diet. This change can happen in just 24 hours. You’re filled with microbes waiting expectantly for your next bite. They’re incredibly effective at ensuring your health too. Having that in mind, it’s clear how strong the connection between your diet and your wellbeing is. It’s almost impossible not to become concerned about giving those microbes what they need to support your health.
The Microbiome Test Kit Process
In just a few simple steps you will know almost everything about the health of your gut!
Order your Microbiome Testing Kit.
Register your testing kit with Viome SA.
Answer the 30-minute online test which analyses your entire lifestyle so that the scientists know exactly who you are, what you get up to, your habits, allergies, dietary preferences and exercise routines. It takes about 30 minutes in total.
Once the test kit has been delivered, take a sample of your stool, conceal it and send it straight back to the Viome lab. The address is provided for you.
Create an online account and keep checking to see the progress of your results. Viome will take about 2-3 weeks to release your test results.
Step 6: Login and read your results. You will be notified when they’re ready. Then you’ll get a list of all the foods that you need to avoid, enjoy in moderation or have lots of! You will also get a list of recommended supplements and where to buy them. Moreover, you’ll see that exact microbiota in your gut at present. The best part is that Viome also makes portion recommendations for the different food items listed.
My kryptonite is coffee, lobster and red pepper. Who would’ve guessed? I must say as a coffee-lover, I’m not sure I’ll be able to cut it out entirely.
If you’re ready to finally figure your health out, then order your microbiome testing kit today. Imagine living in a world where illness is a choice? I will personally organise the test kit for you. All you’ll need to do is register your kit with Viome once you’ve received your kit.
Stay updated on my journey with Viome and how getting my microbiome tested has helped so many of my aspects. Follow me on my Instagram @skyezee_fashionfit_ so you don’t miss a thing.
Meet The Experts
For more discussions around gut health, personalised nutrition and the microbiome join my community forum where we talk about all things gut health.
The world needs to convert to conscious existence. Now is the time to tap into the intricacies of your bodies, environments, feelings, and minds. Why? Find out more here.
Imagine living in a world where illness can be a choice. Viome South Africa. https://www.viome.co.za/