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The intestine hides the secret of a possible threat to health. A microbiome test can detect it

If you want to take care of your health, be sure to take care of your gut. More and more studies show the connection of a number of health problems with the microorganisms that inhabit our intestines. An undesirable composition of the microbiome is involved in many physical and psychological diseases. Thanks to the analysis of the gut microbiome, we can make the most targeted measures and lifestyle changes. For a clear idea of ​​what such a step towards recovery looks like, we tried the intestinal microbiome test.

Changing your diet can have a big impact on your gut microbiome, and thus your overall health.

| Photo: Shutterstock

“The gut microbiome is a set of beneficial and pathogenic microorganisms, mainly bacteria, but also viruses, single-celled organisms called archaea, fungi and protozoa,” he says Iva Kotáskováscientific specialist of the company Genetify, which deals with research and analysis of the intestinal microbiome.

The microbiome is involved in drug metabolism. A lot studies, as indicated for example in a review study from 2020, the microbiome is shown to shape the human immune system and protect us from infections. It helps with digestion and absorption of nutrients from food, produces vitamins and other nutrients. It also affects blood sugar regulation and blood fat metabolism.

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The gut microbiome is also involved in how a person’s mental health looks like. For example, the connections between intestinal colonization and depression or anxiety are being confirmedas he suggests 2023 studywhich focused on revealing the relationships between gut microbiota and the development of brain systems.

So how to restore and heal the gut microbiome? What probiotics should we use and how can we change our lifestyle to keep our gut happy and reduce the risk of various diseases? We will look at this in the following lines.

The gut, your health and the microbiome test:

Source: Deník/Jiří Štraub

Microbiome test for ordinary people too

As knowledge improves about the individual bacteria and other organisms inhabiting the gut, scientists can predict potential health risks with increasing confidence; or, conversely, the benefits that derive from the composition of the microbiome for humans. And tests of the intestinal microbiome no longer serve only scientific purposes, but are becoming available to the lay public.

People can have their gut microbiome tested. According to the findings, after consultation with experts, they will make changes in their lifestyle. They can then use a second test to verify if the gut microbiome has recovered and thereby reduced their health risks.

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“Our project is still new and we recommend repeating the microbiome analyzes after six months at the earliest, but we already have good case studies,” outlines scientific specialist Iva Kotásková.

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“For example, we had a client who suffered from digestive problems for a long time. Our analysis showed that it has a very low diversity of the intestinal microbiome and at the same time unbalanced ratios of basic bacterial strains,” says Iva Kotásková.

The client underwent a gut microbiome test. Subsequently, after consultation with a specialist, she received a recommendation to change her diet and include probiotic foods. Her difficulties soon improved and after a time almost disappeared.

What bacteria do Czechs most often lack?

What are the most common problems shown by the intestinal microbiome test in Czechs? According to the experience of experts from Genetify, tests often show an unbalanced ratio of some beneficial bacterial strains that have a protective function for our health. Proven problems with the absorption of certain mineral substances are no exception.

A lack of bacterial strains producing butyrate in the intestine, which is an essential short-chain fatty acid, is also common. It has many advantages for the body. For example, it reduces the risk of intestinal cancer, regulates blood sugar levels and reduces the risk of developing diabetes or cardiovascular diseases. It also reduces symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.

Sources of prebiotics, i.e. foods beneficial for intestinal bacteria:

Test the microbiome on your own skin

In order to test the intestinal microbiome, one of our editorial colleagues was tested – a fifty-year-old man who does not do much sports, likes traditional Czech cuisine full of meat and loves sweets, especially chocolate. His lifestyle is typical of a large part of our population. What did he get from the test?

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The message reads: “Your microbiome is characteristic of a diet composed mostly of protein and animal fat with a low fiber intake. Bacteria present in your gut are associated with a lack of fiber. This can cause constipation, hemorrhoids or appendicitis, but also cardiovascular disease.’

A number of potential health risks have emerged

The colleague was a little frightened by the specific information about the individual inhabitants of his intestine. He found that it had a below-average representation of the butyrate-producing bacteria mentioned above.

Furthermore, it has only an average representation of a special bacteria that is associated with the protective layer of the lining of a healthy intestine – mucin. At the same time, the thinned mucin layer leads to excessive passage of fats and toxins into the body.

Difference between probiotics and prebiotics:

The composition of the man’s microbiome also showed minimal representation of bacteria that produce substances that are needed to regulate blood sugar levels. He thus has an above-average risk of developing diabetes.

He also lacks enough bacteria that synthesize group B vitamins in the intestine. He is also threatened by poor absorption of calcium into the body. Since he has few lactobacilli in his intestines, he has a predisposition to poor absorption of magnesium.

Thanks to the test, it is clear what to fight

So my colleague didn’t get much good news from the test. But the hopeful thing is that with this information he knows exactly what is at stake. Therefore, he can ensure the correction of his health before it is too late. If you’re a dieter, like our colleague, you may have similar issues with your gut microbiome. How to solve them for you we advise below.

How to fix a typical Czech microbiome

To improve the state of his gut microbiome, a colleague received the following recommendations from experts:

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  • Cut back on carbs – avoid eating foods with a high content of industrially processed carbohydrates from sweets and pastries.
  • Eat more fiber – increase this from fresh vegetables and fruits. Other suitable foods include chickpeas, corn, soy, almonds and whole grains.
  • Take probiotics or prebiotics – to support bacteria, try the prebiotic inulin, which serves as nutrition for beneficial bacteria. It is a soluble, tasteless substance that you can mix into porridge or yogurt. Take probiotics with Lactobacillus strains. You can also reach for a combination of probiotics with inulin.
  • Increase your consumption of foods rich in vitamin C.
  • Eat foods rich in flavonoids, polyphenols and melatonin – these are, for example, sour cherries, grapes, cocoa, blueberries, apples, pistachios, walnuts.
  • Try it reduce the intake of fatty foods and those containing simple sugars.

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