The Ultimate Gut Check: Why Optimizing Your Microbiome Can Affect Your Health and Happiness

Surely you’ve heard something about the gut microbiome – the trillions of microorganisms that live in our digestive system. “Micro” meaning small and “biome” meaning an ecological community. This little community has a gigantic impact on our health, affecting various bodily functions, including digestion, immune system, skin health, metabolism, and even brain function and mental health.

Your Gut Microbiome is its Very Own Ecosystem

To emphasize its importance, we like to think of the gut microbiome as its own ecosystem whose vitality affects the ecosystem of the whole body. To illustrate, let’s consider the ecosystem of a forest. Just as a forest contains a diverse array of organisms that interact with each other to maintain balance and a thriving environment, the gut microbiome is home to trillions of microorganisms that work together to support various bodily functions. Additionally, both ecosystems can be impacted by external factors, such as toxins, that can disrupt the delicate balance of the ecosystem. And when the forest ecosystem is out of balance, the forest will falter and so will surrounding ecosystems.

In women, the gut microbiome also helps to metabolize hormones, such as estrogen, which can impact the menstrual cycle, fertility, and menopause. And it may impact the risk of developing certain health conditions, such as urinary tract infections, vaginal infections, and even some types of cancer.

The Gut-Brain Axis

And, let’s not forget the gut-brain axis, which is not rooted exclusively in the gut microbiome. It is a bidirectional communication system between the gut and the brain. Much of that communication occurs along the vagus nerve, but the gut microbiome produces neurotransmitters and hormones that influence brain function. Conversely, the brain can also affect the gut by releasing hormones and neurotransmitters that can impact gut function and the composition of the gut microbiome.

Research has suggested that disruptions in the gut-brain axis, such as alterations in the gut microbiome or chronic stress, can lead to various health conditions, such as anxiety, depression, irritable bowel syndrome, and even obesity.

Wow. A lot is riding on a healthy gut microbiome – especially for women! Have you been frustrated with ongoing or recurrent digestive symptoms? Maybe you’ve tried to remedy the situation with elimination diets (gluten, dairy, fodmaps) or adding probiotics with no lasting results. Maybe you’re concerned about irritable bowel syndrome or leaky gut? Gastrointestinal troubles can be extremely frustrating. 

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So How Do You Know Your Microbiome Needs Optimizing and What Can You Do About It? 

Our assessment looks at three key factors – all equally important – to help make this determination and map an approach to optimize your microbiome:

  • Does your body need more or different nutrients (and how to get those in)
  • Are there irritants and/or disruptors in your diet or life (both those generally known and those that affect you individually) that we need to plan to reduce or remove? 
  • Are there lifestyle habits or choices (sleep, stress, exercise, time in nature etc.) that need addressing in order to optimize your microbiome. 

NOTE: One of the biggest challenges (for all of us humans!) as we set out to tackle microbiome optimization is figuring out a daily routine that incorporates the better choices we identify but  that’s deliciously doable for you, too. Our personalized approach includes the full support of our exceptional clinical team and a dedicated coach has delivered big wins for our participants. 

Are You Ready to Balance Your Microbiome?

If you’ve struggled with digestive problems or other issues that you think could be related to a microbiome out of balance, our Microbiome Optimizer™ program is for you. In this 3-month program, you’ll walk step-by-step through each dietary and lifestyle factor that contributes to a healthy gut microbiome and you’ll get a personalized plan to keep you on track beyond the program session.

“Good course! I have been peeling the layers back for 8 years and had gotten stuck. Microbiome Optimizer stepped me through information that I could apply. Erin’s explanations/analogies were educational and delivered in just the right “bites” to ponder and put into practice without being overwhelming. Meg was a practical cheerleader, helping with simple strategies to attain bigger goals. I still have work to do, but the most important milestone reached through following program and consistently working on the drainage pathways is that I am beginning to sleep through the night. After over 30 years, I had all but given up on sleep. Now I feel I have broken through a major obstacle towards my next healing step!!!”

V.T. Microbiome Optimizer Participant