by Susan Klick, MSN, RN, CNL
Your gut carries about six pounds of a diverse group of bacterias, known as “gut microbiobes” which are responsible for many things. These six pounds of gut microbiobes form our gut microbiome which helps to protect us against outside bacteria, support our immune systems, and help us to use different vitamins and regulate hormones. Now, recent studies are finding that some microbes may play a role in insulin sensitivity and metabolism.
New research is suggesting that in addition to genetics and lifestyle (physical inactivity and poor diet), certain gut microbes may cause an inflammation in the body that affect liver and fat cells resulting in altered insulin sensitivity and metabolism. Although nothing has been proven, there is enough evidence to warrant more research.
Diet is probably the single most important factor influencing the gut microbiome. Studies have shown that changes in diet result in changes in the gut microbiome. A healthy diet with low-fat, high fiber has been linked to a more diverse and better gut microbiome compared to a diet high in fat and low in fiber. The gut microbiome also adapt and shift quickly to plant-based diets compared to animal-based diets.
There is still a lot to learn and we will be able to use this knowledge to find new ways to treat many different diseases including diabetes. Until then, eating healthy and staying active can help maintain and develop a healthy gut microbiome.