BY Jennifer Hopper October 30, 2019
Do you often feel bloated or uncomfortable because of something you ate? Do you wonder why eating the same meal as someone else can affect you in vastly different ways?
Your gut microbiome is unique to you and it is responsible for the reception your food gets when immunity is digested. The microbiome is a microscopic community of microbes that performs the ‘meet and greet’ function when new food comes to town. Microbes feast on the food you eat, helping to break it down, convert it into energy and fight off infection. It’s a relationship that is built on mutual trust - a ‘you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours’, type of arrangement that benefits everyone.
Your microbiome community is unique because it has been with you at least since you were knee high (and some early research points to it happening even in utero). It was established when you were around the age of 1 or 2 years old and likely contains microbes passed to you from your family and your environment. These first communities of microbes are important for determining what microbes will come after, as they prepare the intestinal ground to be populated by future generations.
Things go awry when your microbiome is taken out to dinner and fed something that sends your microbe community into a frenzy - feeding the growth of microbes that are normally less numerous, and starving the microbes that keep things in check. It’s your very own delicate balancing act - and explains why eating the same meal as a friend can result in vastly different reactions. Your microbiome can also take a hit if you’ve been taking antibiotics, there’s a major change in your diet, or you are stressed.
Finding a way to stay friendly with your microbiome is the best way to keep tummy problems at bay. Supporting the friendly microbes in your gut will give your microbiome community a much more welcoming vibe and ease issues when they come up. And that’s where probiotics are so helpful. Taking one targeted to your specific needs can improve digestion and give friendly microbes some supportive new pals.