Gastroenterologist Dr. Marvin Singh, founder of the California-based Precisione Clinic, dishes advice on how to keep your “second brain” in tip-top shape.
Unless you’ve recently taken a tech detox, you have probably heard rumblings about the gut microbiome, the internal system of bacteria that influences everything from how you gain weight, to your mood, to how your body processes certain nutrients. The medical community and the general population alike are becoming more aware of this system’s wide-ranging effects, but more often than not there is still confusion over what these revelations mean on a personal, everyday level.
“There has definitely been a surge in interest lately because the technology for measuring and analyzing the gut microbiome we have at our fingertips is now so readily available to the general public,” explains Dr. Marvin Singh, MD, founder of Precisione Clinic. “We now know so much more information than we ever did in the past.” However, he cautions that there is still much to learn.
Singh details a seemingly endless and “continually growing” list of conditions linked to unhealthy gut microbiome, including but not limited to allergies, autism, autoimmune conditions, cancer, depression, anxiety, metabolic syndrome, multiple sclerosis, and thyroid disease. The problem is, many of the causes of an imbalanced gut microbiome, such as chronic stress, a lack of exercise and certain medications such as antibiotics, stem from the modern Western lifestyle. To improve the vitality of this system, Singh urges a “back to basics” approach:
Pay Attention to Environmental Factors
The chemicals we interact with on a daily basis in our homes are driving forces in the whittling away of the beneficial bacteria in our bodies, so taking stock of what’s in your cupboards is a great place to start. Singh says that resources like EWG’s Skin Deep database will point you in the right direction as to which beauty and household items to reach for and which to steer clear of.
“Chemicals and additives can cause obesity and inflammation, and when they are added to increase shelf life, they can contribute to a shorter human lifespan over time,” he warns, adding that eating a clean diet is, therefore, a proactive step you can take.
Clean Up Your Life
As with most health issues, a whole-foods, plant-focused diet rich in phytonutrients and fiber will help cultivate a strong and fortified microbiome, Singh says. “Additionally, making sure you are hydrated, sleeping enough, reducing stress and spending quality time with loved ones are also keep components of a balanced and healthy gut microbiome, believe it or not,” he adds.
These are areas that Singh considers in his own practice and applies to his patients’ programs –and they aren’t just important for the gut microbiome. “While the gut microbiome is a key component to health, it is only one single component of an intricate web of information that is contained inside of the human body,” Singh notes.
Written by Rachel Debling for Clean Eating Magazine and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.