Staying slim hasn’t been possible for me. Dieting no more appears to work, nor did periods with a pushy fitness expert. AFTER I couldn’t fit into a size 16 Primark frock at Christmas, I used to be mortified. I put this right down to work, stress, hormones and a negative back that ended me exercising.
We all have trillions of different microbes in our guts. The latest thinking is that microscopic community, known as the microbiome, functions like an organ in the physical body, performing various essential functions. A wholesome, balanced microbiome helps us breakdown foods, protects us from infections, trains our disease fighting capability and manufactures vitamins, such as B12 and K. It also plays a role in regulating blood sugar and metabolism, and sends signals to our brain that make a difference mood, anxiety and appetite.
A bad diet, stress, lack and alcohol of rest can upset your microbiome, creating imbalances that are increasingly being associated with conditions which range from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) to diabetes, high blood circulation pressure, depressive disorder – and, yes, obesity. I understand about my weight-gaining bacteria due to a new test that analyses your microbiome.
The company behind the test, Map My Gut, was recently launched by Tim Spector, a professor of hereditary epidemiology at King’s College London. To accomplish the test, you get a pack with a plastic pot, a spatula, latex gloves and a paper ‘poo-catcher’. Once you have gathered your sample, it is sent to a specialist laboratory, which uses DNA technology to identify the bacteria in your gut.
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Around four weeks later, you receive a personalised statement from your designated ‘diet expert’. This won’t be some glossy-haired food blogger with a diploma from a weekend workshop: Professor Spector says the nourishment experts are doctors, scientists, dietitians or nutritional therapists (who must have completed nourishment training to at least degree-equivalent level). My nourishment expert, Miguel Toribio-Mateas, has a degree in nutritional medicine, a masters degree in clinical neuroscience and is completing a doctorate in cognitive ageing. He’s also a clinical neuroscientist and head of practitioner education for Map My Gut – I seem to have hit the jackpot.
The statement includes an overview of your microbiome, showing how it compares with the common microbiome (based on that data source of 14,000 people), as well as ranking your present gut health insurance and giving basic eating suggestions specific to your needs. The whole deal – test included – costs £300. Given that the research is so fast-changing and new, some academics think it’s prematurily . to provide personalised diet suggestions predicated on our microbiome. Professor Spector, as you might expect, disagrees.
He says there is certainly proven science we can used now. We realize for example, that the greater diverse their microbiome, the healthier people have a tendency to be,’ he says. I expected to learn that my microbiome is at good shape – I’d prided myself on my varied and, I thought, healthy diet: I love kale and lentils, blueberries and live yoghurt.