Why a healthy microbiome is important

The more science learns about the gut microbiome, the more we understand how closely it is linked to our general health and wellbeing.

Anyone following the latest health trends would be familiar with words like probiotic, good bacteria and even science-y names like lactobacillus.

There is a reason gut-related messages are everywhere, with a growing body of evidence pointing to the important role gut health and the microbiome plays in general wellbeing and, well, many other areas of our health.

What exactly is the gut microbiome?

Inside your body are trillions of bacteria that live in and on your body – in this case in the gastrointestinal tract1.

This vast microbial community, mainly comprising bacteria, plays a key role in digesting the food you eat, as well as helping with absorbing and synthesising nutrients2 3.

It’s also involved in other important processes extending well beyond digestion, including immune function4 5 .

Why is it so important to keep a healthy microbiome?

In healthy people, bacteria and other microbes usually peacefully co-exist (with a happy balance between good and bad bacteria) in a type of ecosystem.

Picture The Great Barrier Reef, it consists of hundreds of species of life including coral, bacteria and other living beings that all work together to keep the reef healthy.

Our body works in a similar way.

The gut microbiome is established early in life, with the bacteria in your child’s gut playing an important role in keeping them healthy too.

A disturbance in that balance — which can be brought about by illness, certain diets, and medication — has been associated with many modern-day health concerns.

How to support microbiome health

Happily, there’s lots you can do to keep your gut microbiota (and that of your family) healthy, balanced and functionally well.

1. Remember you are what you eat

Many fruits, vegetables, pulses and grains are rich in fibre, which is good for the gut.

A varied diet comprising foods like beans and legumes, oats, onions, nuts, apples and blueberries support the growth of healthy bacteria.

2. Cut down on alcohol and smoking

Indulging in too much alcohol and smoking cigarettes have both been found to upset the balance of good and bad bacteria in your gut.

3. Think about increasing your intake of beneficial bacteria

Probiotics contain live organisms, usually specific strains of beneficial bacteria that add to the population of healthy microbes in your gut and are one way you can support the balance of good and bad bacteria.

You can also increase your intake of beneficial bacteria through eating fermented foods, or try a probiotic supplement if needed.

Probiotics for all stages of life

Life-Space have a range of multi-strain probiotics formulated for different life stages, 6 months old to childhood and through to old age.

Life-Space Probiotic Powder for Baby contains 10 strains of beneficial bacteria for little ones and supports a healthy digestive system.

Life-Space Probiotic Powder for Children and Life-Space Broad Spectrum Probiotic contains 15 strains of beneficial bacteria and supports a healthy digestive system and everyday health and wellbeing.

Life-Space Double Strength Probiotic also contains 15 live strains of beneficial bacteria and supports the intestinal microbiome and healthy immune system function.

And Life-Space Probiotic for 60+ Years contains 15 strains of beneficial bacteria and helps restore good gut flora, support healthy bowel function and enhance immune system function in the elderly.

With a live bacteria guarantee, these vegetarian formulas don’t need refrigerating and contain no added dairy, gluten, egg, artificial colours or flavours.

* This post is brought to you by Life-Space Probiotics. Always read the label and follow the directions for use.

[1] Sender, R., Fuchs, S. and Milo, R., 2016. Revised Estimates for the Number of Human and Bacteria Cells in the Body. PLOS Biology, 14(8), p.e1002533.

[2] LeBlanc, J., Milani, C., de Giori, G., Sesma, F., van Sinderen, D. and Ventura, M., 2013. Bacteria as vitamin suppliers to their host: a gut microbiota perspective. Current Opinion in Biotechnology, 24(2), pp.160-168.

[3] Slavin, J., 2013. Fiber and Prebiotics: Mechanisms and Health Benefits. Nutrients, 5(4), pp.1417-1435.

[4] Dongarrà, M., Rizzello, V., Muccio, L., Fries, W., Cascio, A., Bonaccorsi, I. and Ferlazzo, G., 2013. Mucosal Immunology and Probiotics. Current Allergy and Asthma Reports, 13(1), pp.19-26.

[5] McDermott, A. and Huffnagle, G., 2014. The microbiome and regulation of mucosal immunity. Immunology, 142(1), pp.24-31.