Enhance your gut health with ghee - a better butter alternative. Learn more at Next Health and embark on your journey to improved digestion. Learn more.
Scientists and medical professionals are now spending more time than ever studying the health benefits our bodies’ microbiome: a delicate balance of the approximately 100 trillion fungi and bacteria that live in our gut. The body’s microbiome affects nearly every single system in our bodies, playing a role in metabolism, immunity, and even neurobiology. In fact, the microbiome is considered so important to understand that the multi-million dollar Human Microbiome Project was developed in order to study the correlation between various strands of bacteria and the diseases that they may affect.
There are very few studies done on humans as of yet, but those done show a relationship between our microbiome and the metabolization of the foods we ingest, as well as how effectively our body is able to convert and use those nutrients to its benefit. Our microbiome also initiates our immune response and plays a role in how effectively it responds to inflammation and disease. Essentially, the healthier the biome, the more effective our body will be at responding to the stress, disease, and inflammation that we encounter daily. Americans’ diets today consist of a large part of simple sugars, carbohydrates, and processed foods. These are not optimal for sustaining a healthy microbiome, and the result is an upward trend in obesity with excess amounts of carbs.
A genomics specialist from Washington University School of Medicine was quoted in the New York Times as having said, “The nutritional value of food is influenced in part by the microbial community that encounters that food2.” He is referring to the fact that a healthy microbiome will be best supported by a plant-based diet (fruits and vegetables), which will in turn enable it to pull even more nutrition from the ingested food, thus keeping us at optimal health.
Scientists have also found that the health of our microbiomes could play a large role in either preventing or aiding the development of various neuropsychiatric disorders: schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, eating disorders, chronic fatigue syndrome, and depression. The brain and gut share a very intimate connection. For example, just the thought of eating can begin the process of producing digestive tract fluids in the stomach. Similarly, a feeling of anxiety can induce a clenching and sometimes cramping feeling in the gut. That biofeedback loop between the brain and gut is incredibly strong, and research has suggested that an unbalanced microbiome could induce the production of antibodies that can adversely affect the blood-brain barrier, thereby enabling the development of these and other neuropsychiatric disorders.
Scientists are also aware that a great number of antibodies - which are responsible for fighting off disease - are produced by gut bacteria. We can conclude that our gut plays a large role in fighting off and preventing disease, both acute and chronic.
This is only a very surface-level summary of the role that gut microbiota play in our overall health. Researchers are still studying the degree to which our microbiome’s health affects our overall well-being, but what is already known indicates that it is very important we strive to achieve and maintain a well-balanced microbiome.
As for why our gut microbes are so deficient, researchers attribute frequent antibiotic use to our compromised gut health. Antibiotics are designed to kill off the bacteria that cause bacterial infections, such as pneumonia. However, modern antibiotics do not differentiate between healthy and bad bacteria, they simply wipe out all bacteria. This is a serious problem because it completely destroys the microbes in the gut, leaving no bacteria to produce the antibodies the immune system needs to fight infection. Furthermore, the damage of antibiotics extends to the variety of microbes in the gut, all of which perform different functions. This decline in variety can lead to increased susceptibility to chronic conditions like food allergies and autoimmune conditions like type 1 diabetes and Hashimoto's thyroiditis.
So what can we do to heal and sustain healthy microbiomes? There are several things that can get us on the right track. First, eating a more plant-based diet - that is, one heavily-dependent upon fruits and vegetables - and drastically reducing the amount of sugars and processed foods consumed from your local grocery store will result in a more diverse and healthy microbiome.
A traditional healing food from India has begun to find a market here in America, and its list of benefits for the gut is impressive. Ghee, also known as clarified butter, is a rich source of butyric acid: a short-chain fatty acid proven to assist aerobic energy metabolism and support the health and healing of both the small and large intestines. This form of fatty acid can help maintain low blood lipid and sugar levels, thereby reducing your risk of type 2 diabetes and heart attack. It also helps to protect the colon from damaging cells that could lead to cancer.
Bulletproof Labs®, a self-defined biohacking facility dedicated to training you to “hack” your own biology in order to achieve advanced cognitive and physical function, has been using grass-fed ghee for years in its signature Bulletproof Coffee®. Founder David Asprey made it his mission to find out what best helps our bodies and brains feel alive and well, and on a Tibetan mountain he found ghee. From there he developed the one-of-a-kind Bulletproof Coffee®, which uses Bulletproof Labs’® own high-quality, grass-fed ghee.
If you’re more of a DIY-er, the Institute of Functional Medicine has published a recipe called Better Butter with Ghee. It is a replacement for regular butter and is made mostly of Ghee, along with colostrum powder, L-glutamine, and zinc carnosine. These additional supplements serve to support cell metabolism, a balanced immune system, and ulcer-prevention. This allows for the great taste of butter but without the lactose that comes in dairy products.
The recipe and directions are as follows:
Mix with a whisk or food processor briefly until evenly mixed. Refrigerate. It will store in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks. Use 1–2 tablespoons. daily on warm food as a butter substitute. Good on warm vegetables, brown rice, and winter squash. Enjoy!4
Some Ways to Use Ghee:
meals & soups
veggies, potatoes, & grains
It is crucial for our overall wellness that we prioritize the health of the inside of our bodies as well as we do the outside. If you want to improve your mood and feel energized both physically and mentally, then give Next Health’s Gut Health IV a try. It provides your body with a boost of essential amino acids and anti-inflammatory agents that optimize and improve your overall gut health.
If you want to pack an even stronger punch, try the Next|Health Limitless Shot. This shot is composed of the power couple Biotin & MIC. Biotin is great for improving digestion/ your gastrointestinal tract and supporting a healthy metabolism and goes hand-in-hand with MIC, an aid in weight loss and increasing energy.
Remember this disclaimer, our gut is our “second brain,” meaning it plays a role in our physical, emotional, and mental health. So don’t forget those little microbes - they may just be the most important part yet!
Resources on Microbiome: