One of the most profound things I have heard at medical conference on the digestive tract was, “Feed your microbiome before you feed yourself” From that moment forward, I looked at the importance of food for our microbiome in a whole different way.
Our microbiome is a the make up of trillions of bacteria that provides a symphony of important functions, which maintain a healthy digestive tract. What are some of these functions? They range from short chain acid production, neurotransmitter production such as GABA and Serotonin, modulating inflammation and immunity, glutathione indole production, recycling exogenous estrogen and producing several vitamins such as B1, B2, B5, B6, Folate, B12, Vitamin A, C and K.
Of these functions, one of the most important is the output of short chain fatty acids (SCFA). SCFAs are produced by gut microbes and are key components in maintaining digestive health, such as acetate, butyrate and propionate.
What makes these SCFA so important?
Butyrates role involves maintaining the space between each cell of the digestive tract (called tight junctions). When there become gaps between each cell, things leak through, which is called Leaky Gut Syndrome. Butyrate helps to maintain these tight junctions by influencing the expression of tight junction proteins such as claudin-2, occludin, and zonulin. When these tight junction proteins are not functioning optimally, permeability increases leading to significant inflammation. Butyrate specifically has been shown to suppress the movement of a very inflammatory endtoxin called LPS, which is a huge player in gut dysfunction, leading to feeling unwell.
Propionate’s key role is maintaining a health immune system in the gut by encouraging regulatory T cell differentiation in gut associated lymphoid tissues(GALT), and it also promotes gluconeogenesis in the liver. In addition it supports insulin sensitivity and improves gut hormone production.
Acetate is used for cholesterol synthesis and lipogenesis but can also be utilized by muscle tissue.
So what do we feed our microbiome so they produce SCFAs?
In order for our microbes to produce SCFA’s, they ferment foods and consume prebiotics such as GOS, FOS and XOS. What is interesting is that our microbes do not like to eat the same things. Some prefer cellulose foods or resistant starches. So what this means is we need to eat a variety of foods that our microbiome likes which includes foods such as cashews, , a variety of beans, split peas, garlic, onion, leeks, chicory root, artichokes, asparagus, burdock root, green bananas, plantains to dandelion greens.
What if you feel you cannot digest complex carbohydrates?
For some, eating starchy or prebiotic rich foods, can create extreme gas and bloating. So how we can help mitigate this and aid in the digestive process? One product that can help do so is Provita's Digestive Enzymes Complex. What this enzyme does is help aid in digesting these foods, which will allow our microbime to utilize what they need from these foods.
Provita's Digestive Enzymes Complex not only contains enzymes but also betaine hydrochloride which helps aid in the breaking food up in the stomach, cellulase and hemicellulase enzymes to help digest plant fiber and to break down fruits, veggies & grains, ginger to help relieve digestive discomfort including lack of appetite, nausea, digestive spasms, indigestion and dyspepsia and lactase helps to digest lactose in milk and diary products.
- Kelly JR, Kennedy PJ, Cryan JF, et al. Breaking down the barriers: the gut microbiome, intestinal permeability and stress-related psychiatric disorders. Front Cell Neurosci. 2015;9:392.
- Al Bander Z, Nitert MD, Mousa A, et al. The Gut Microbiota and Inflammation: An Overview. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020;17(20):7618.
About the author
Dr. Taylor Bean is a Naturopathic Doctor and owner of TaylorMade Wellness in Salmon Arm, BC. She began her career working overseas In Singapore for two years, to now 6 years working in Canada, she has been able to blend Eastern and Western approaches from a clinical and cultural perspective. As a mother of two, she has a passion working with pregnant mothers achieve a healthy pregnancy and smooth labor along with working with children to help them thrive.