จุลินทรีย์ ในลำไส้ Gut Microbiome

Gut microbiome imbalance leads to the rise of disease.

Why is it crucial to examine the balance of gut microbiome?

          The human body comprises a staggering 100 trillion cells, but genuine human cells are only 30 million of them. The over 100 trillion cells remaining are microbial cells, known as microorganisms. Additionally, these bacteria make up about 1-3% of the body’s total mass and can possess up to 8 million genes. In contrast, the human genome comprises only about 23,000 genes. The imbalance of these microbiomes directly influences the body’s physiological changes.

What are microorganisms?

          Microorganisms, or microbes, are tiny living organisms that cannot be seen with the naked eye. They live in various parts of the human body, including the skin, mouth, reproductive organs, and most prominently, the digestive system, particularly the intestinal tract.

          Microorganisms are varieties of, for instance, bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites, all living in a symbiotic relationship. Some microbes facilitate in disease prevention, aid digestion, nutrient absorption, and support excretion processes. Other microbes produce vital substances such as bacteria in the large intestine synthesize vitamin B12. Furthermore, microbe also enhance the immune system, and detoxify harmful food compounds. However, imbalances in these microorganisms can cause health abnormality.

What is the microbiome? and Why is it Important?

The microbiome is a genetic code of microorganisms, providing a map to identify their types, quantities, and how they interact with the organs in the human body. It is importance for health, providing disease prediction, guide treatment choices, and preventing future illnesses. Importantly, the specific makeup of an individual’s microbiome is unique, influenced by various factors include genetics, dietary, previous illness history, and environmental exposure.

จุลินทรีย์ ในลำไส้ Gut Microbiome

Gut Microbiome.

The gut microbiome encompasses a diverse range of microorganisms that inhabit our gastrointestinal system. This system is recognized for having the highest number of living microorganisms. The microbiome within our gastrointestinal system plays a pivotal role in various health-related issues, including obesity, asthma, diabetes, cancer, immune deficiencies, and heart diseases. Moreover, it has a profound impact on aspects such as sleep patterns, mood, anxiety, behavioural tendencies, and responses to medications.

The Benefits of microorganisms in the gastrointestinal system.

          The diverse and varying quantities of microorganisms play distinct and important roles. These microorganisms can be categorized into two groups:

  1. Harmful/Pathogenic Microorganisms: These microorganisms can cause diseases by producing toxins within the body.
    • Helicobacter pylori, which leads to gastric diseases, increasing the risk of gastric ulcers, tumours, and stomach cancer.
    • Certain gut bacteria, found in the intestines, are associated with colorectal cancer, chronic intestinal inflammation, obesity, heart diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, fatty liver disease, liver cirrhosis, and liver cancer.
  1. Health-Promoting Microorganisms: These are beneficial microorganisms that the body requires.
    • Lactobacillus, which inhibits the growth of pathogenic bacteria.
    • Eubacteria/Bifidobacterium, which synthesize essential nutrients, act as a defence against infections, stimulate the immune system, and assist in nutrient digestion and absorption.

How does imbalance in gut microorganisms affect health?

An imbalance in gut microorganisms can have various health implications.

  • Mood Swings  
  • Depression or Anxiety
  • Obesity (Read the article about Abdominal obesity, click here.)
  • Skin Conditions such as eczema
  • Heart and Blood Vessel Diseases
  • Diabetes (Read the article about diabetes, click here.)
  • Cancer
  • Liver Disease
  • Asthma
  • Oral Health Issues
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Warning signs of gut microbiome imbalance:

  • Gastrointestinal issues such as bloating, abdominal discomfort, fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and constipation
  • Migraines or sleep problems
  • Skin troubles such as acne
  • Occasional allergy
  • Asthma
  • Slow metabolism
  • Increased risk of anxiety, depression, obesity, type 2 diabetes, or Alzheimer’s
  • Bad breath
  • Mucus in stool  
  • Prolonged antibiotic consumption
  • Trouble digesting carbohydrates
  • Fatigue or chronic exhaustion
  • Prolonged antacids consumption
  • Nasal congestion

If you experience at least 5 of these symptoms, it’s possible that you have gut microbiome imbalance and medical attention may be required.

Gut microbiome analysis

      Gut microbiome analysis is a process of evaluating the balance between beneficial and harmful microbiome in the body. Gut microbiome assessment could be performed by stool analysis. The purposes of analysis included:

  • The density and diversity of microbiome
  • Balancing of microbiome
  • How the microorganisms associate with health?

          In cases where the analysis indicates an imbalance in microbiome density, diversity, or beneficial qualities, it can elevate the risk of various diseases compared to individuals with a well-balanced microbiome. This examination is valuable for healthcare professionals in assessing disease risk and diagnosing conditions that may arise from an unbalanced gut microbiome, such as irritable bowel syndrome, obesity, diabetes, anxiety disorders, and migraines.

Next Generation Sequencing (NGS)

What are the benefits of Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) technology?

  • Species identification: NGS can identify and analyze more than 100 different species of microorganisms. This information offers valuable insights for future healthcare strategies.
  • Determining ratio of beneficial – pathogenic microbiome: NGS allows for a direct comparison between disease-causing bacteria and beneficial ones. This assessment helps us understand the ratios and specific types of microorganisms present.
  • Disease and risk assessment: With NGS, we can assess the risk factors associated with 9 diseases, including obesity, irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes, high cholesterol, cardiovascular diseases linked to meat consumption, diverticulitis, depression, rheumatoid arthritis, and age-related optic nerve degeneration.

Self-preparation for gut microbiome assessment:

  • No fasting or food restrictions are necessary before the test.
  • Avoid taking antibiotics for about 3 days prior to the examination.  

Tips for maintaining a balanced gut microbiome:

A balanced gut microbiome is an alternative for health promotion and reduces the risk of various diseases.

  • Consume nutritious and clean foods
  • Take antibiotic only when necessary
  • Boost probiotics and prebiotics intake: Incorporate foods rich in probiotics (like yogurt and fermented products) and prebiotics (found in fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, etc.).
  • Regularly monitor microbiome balance: Consider undergoing gut microbiome balance assessments every 6 months, especially after lifestyle changes or as advised by a medical professional. Due to changing habits, microbial patterns can shift.
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