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Menopause: Restore the Health of your Microbiome

Part 3 in our series by guest blogger, Jan Roberts

What is the Microbiome?

First of all, a definition for today’s post. The microbiome is the total sum of all the organisms that inhabit the inside and outside of your body. These are the (mostly) bacteria that inhabit your gastrointestinal tract, also your armpits, your vagina, and your skin, and we now have a huge body of research that gives us a better understanding of the role that these organisms play in overall health.

Rob Knight, director of the University of California San Diego Center for Microbiome Innovation and professor of paediatrics and computer science and engineering says that “So to our 30 trillion human cells, we have on average about 39 trillion microbial cells. So by that measure, we're only about 43% human.” To sum up, that’s a huge amount of information carrying material that is ‘not you’ but actually establishes the foundation of your human health.

Your microbiome is in constant motion, it’s a dynamic, ongoing process and optimal health requires maintenance of both numbers and biodiversity of those bacterial organisms. You can think of your microbiome as a separate organ whose healthy function and information-carrying activities establish a foundation for all your other health-promoting measures.

Why does your Microbiome become unhealthy?

Before we look at ways of restoring a healthy microbiome, let’s review some of the reasons why it has become unhealthy in the first place. They start with the manner in which you were born. A baby born by Caesarean section bypasses being inoculated with bacteria on its journey down the birth canal. Formula feeding denies the baby the specific bacteria that are found in human breast milk. Down the track, those issues are compounded by modern, low fibre diets, chlorinated water is another problem and while antibiotic use has transformed many areas of healthcare, the downside has been a massive loss of bacterial diversity in the human microbiome. Antibiotics used in agriculture, Roundup (the most widely used weed killer in the world)...the list of negative influences is long.

How do you Restore your Gut Health?

So my recommendations for restoring gut health start with:

  • High potency pre/probiotics
  • Fermented foods - get five different sorts of fermented foods (e.g. kimchi, Greek yogurt, kombucha, pickled beets, sauerkraut, etc.) and eat a serving every day on a rotating basis.
  • Avoid antibiotics unless absolutely necessary and avoid antiseptic wipes and gels. Try good old soap and water instead for hand washing.
  • Purify your drinking water (to remove chlorine)
  • Eat organic, whole, fresh, in season - that helps you avoid the cocktail of chemicals (including Roundup) that is used in conventional agriculture.

With a healthy microbiome under your belt, you support:

  • Good digestive function, optimal nutrient absorption and vitamin synthesis.
  • Optimal immune function - 85% of your immune response is mediated through your gut
  • Energy metabolism (weight management)
  • Hypothalamus, pituitary, adrenal (HPA axis) function. This is how the body makes and regulates all hormones.
  • Strong bones and muscles and the health of your eyes, skin and hair.

With support for gut health, you give hormone production and balance a fighting chance and we’ll talk of other ways to support that balance in my next post.

Jan Roberts

Jan Roberts

Studies in nutritional medicine prompted a career shift for pharmacist, Jan Roberts, with UK-based Foresight, the Association for Promotion of Preconceptual Care inspiring her 40-year journey. Jan’s passion for preconception healthcare as the surest way to have a truly healthy baby spawned six books, e-books and 3 mini e-books (all published by Penguin Random House), presentations to lay and professional audiences around the world and articles for consumer magazines and professional journals. Now, on a daily basis, on behalf of Symphony Natural Health Jan advises women, whether in the reproductive, peri- or post-menopausal stage of life, on natural ways to achieve healthy hormone balance.

Can’t wait for those posts? Feel free to contact Jan: