Today's guest on IBD Heal is Robyn Chuter and our topic for the show is the gut microbiome! Robyn and Shukul are going to do a deep dive into our gut friends and find out what it takes to create a healthy gut flora. We will also cover some of the dos and don'ts of how diet and medication use can affect our Microbiome.
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Robyn Chuter is a university-qualified health practitioner, with a Bachelor of Health Science (and the Dean's Medal for Outstanding Academic Achievement) from the University of New England, a Bachelor of Health Science (Honours) with First Class Honours from Edith Cowan University, and a Diploma of Naturopathy from the Australasian College of Natural Therapies.
She is also an Australasian Society of Lifestyle Medicine-Certified Lifestyle Medicine Practitioner, and proud to be a Fellow of the Australasian Society of Lifestyle Medicine.
Robyn has an extensive library of articles on her website about the gut microbiome and we highly recommend you take a look: https://empowertotalhealth.com.au/article-library-gut-microbiome/
The gut microbiome has been the hot topic of scientific research in the last few decades. In fact, the field of gut microbiota research has mushroomed so dramatically, that a scientific paper published in 2018 (https://gut.bmj.com/content/67/9/1716) calculated that over four-fifths of the total number of scientific publications focusing on the gut microbiota over the previous 40 years were published in just four years – 2013-2017.
And now, so many scientific articles on the topic are published every day that it’s impossible to keep up with them all.
In just a few decades, researchers have come to understand that the communities of bacteria, archaea, protists, fungi and viruses that live inside our gastrointestinal tract (our gut microbiota), and their collective genetic material (our gut microbiome) are so vital to healthy function that they constitute a distinct organ of the human body.
Here are just some of the roles played by the 100 trillion microorganisms that populate our gut:
Immune functions: Formation of the gut-associated lymphoid tissue, or GALT (a key component of the immune system in the gut) and ‘training’ of our immune cells to distinguish self from non-self, and friend from foe.
Gut functions: Maintaining the intestinal barrier (i.e. preventing and repairing leaky gut); digesting complex carbohydrates found in human breast milk and plants; producing short-chain fatty acids which feed the cells that line our colon; keeping disease-causing bacteria, yeasts and fungi at bay; regulating muscle movement in the intestinal tract (motility), and protecting against colon cancer.
Metabolic functions: Regulating serum cholesterol, blood glucose levels and appetite.
Vitamin production: Producing vitamins B1, B2, B12 and K, along with biotin, folate and alpha-lipoic acid.
Central nervous system functions: Stimulating the development of parts of the brain, especially the hippocampus (which plays key roles in motivation, emotion, learning, and memory); and producing chemicals that affect areas of the brain involved in appetite control and food cravings.
Enteric nervous system (‘gut brain’) functions: Producing neurotransmitters – chemicals that nerve cells use to talk to each other, and to muscles and glands – including GABA, serotonin and dopamine, and influencing the neuroendocrine cells in the gut that also release these neurotransmitters.
We hope you enjoy our latest episode, eat plants and lots of them!