How are Your Bacteroides and Firmicutes?

Amy Gardner
May 29, 2014

I recently attended a great seminar on the microbiome – our microbiome consists of the microorganisms living in our gut, skin, lungs and other organs.  Did you know that there are 10 times more microbial cells than human cells in our body?  Pretty creepy huh?  These various microorganisms (or lack there of) have been linked to a number of current health concerns:

Obesity

Allergies & Food Intolerances

Asthma

Autism

Cancer

Depression

Gastrointestinal Diseases

Health research is starting to look at the human body as a multi-organism colony as opposed to one.  What these researchers are finding is amazing.  For example, several studies including this one have shown an increased Bacteroide to Firmicutes ratio in the gut of obese individuals compared to lean counterparts.

Interestingly, when the gut environment changes via diet, the microbiome also changes.  How do you change it exactly?  Eat mostly whole foods, plenty of fiber, foods that contain naturally occurring probiotics (yogurt, sauerkraut, other fermented foods) and get plenty of healthy oils (i.e. fish, olive oil, nuts, etc).  You may also consider supplementing with a prebiotic.  Prebiotics, probiotics and other nutrition supplements might help restore lost microflora as a result of antibiotics and a long period of eating mainly processed food.