Aug 1, 2023
Enhancing gut health may be the least sexy part of improving your body composition. After all, there’s no Lululemons, no flexing in front of a mirror, and there’s got to be some consciousness about it.
Most of all for many of us, there has to be an understanding of why, and how, and one last thing… you don’t have to have a belly ache, belly bloat, or diarrhea to tell you you have a gut issue in order to have one.
The gut microbiome is influenced by sex hormones and also changes with aging. Declines in estradiol and progesterone may lead to permeability of the gut barrier, allowing microbial translocation to occur.
Menopause and/or low estrogens are associated with reduced gut microbiome diversity.
Because it’s possible to modify the gut microbiome through specific prebiotic, probiotic, or antibiotic drugs, the gut microbiome can play a part in peri- and post-menopausal health.
Enhancing Gut Health Improves Insulin Sensitivity
Stubborn menopausal fat is often related to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is related to your blood sugar.
Your body will respond to different food and drinks based on your gut microbiome.
Say you have a poor gut microbiome and certain foods spike blood sugar. For me right now, that’s coffee.
Focus on improving your gut microbiome over a few months then testing the same meal or foods may result in far lower blood sugar. Some say you can enhance the gut microbiome in a matter of days.
You may have no obvious indication of poor gut health. Unless it’s reached significant levels you won’t have constipation, diarrhea, gas, or bloating - the obvious telltale signs.
Wearing a Continuous Blood Glucose monitor can reveal some of these issues.
How Do You Improve Gut Health?
Ironically, longer periods of fasting can help. Dr. Mindy Pelz uses fasting with patients who’ve undergone antibiotic use, oral birth control and who have SIBO. The key in these 24-hour or more fasts is how you choose to break them. Introducing bone broth first, some healthy fats, and finally cooked veggies and protein help reset gut health. (Her book Fast Like a Girl, Hay House 2023).
If you have good gut health your liver and microbiome “communicate” via your portal vein. That helps your body switch to fat burning when you’re in a fasted state. But if you have a missing gut microbiome, the liver may never get the signal to switch.
You can do a stool test to truly get a picture of which bacteria are high and low so you know how to better balance them. Grapefruit seed extract for 1-3 months is sometimes recommended to reduce an influx of bad bacteria. While specific strains of good bacteria might be recommended to you in higher doses so that you can bring them up to a desirable range.
Signs Your Gut Microbiome is Off
Without getting too graphic, in my experience, when your gut microbiome is off, you’ll be more susceptible to food poisoning or the toxic effects of something like kale. I had leftover salmon, two days after it was cooked and got violently sick. A favorite kale salad was practically running right through me just before that. I’d had a stool test but hadn’t gotten the results back.
If coffee elevates blood sugar today, you may be able to repair your gut with:
Gut Health and Blood Sugar
Some will say black coffee is okay if you’re fasting.
But it’s not true for everyone. If it spikes your blood sugar, and fasting is your goal then you don’t want to have it. Likewise, if you are having a fasting glucose test scheduled you don’t want to risk that it interferes.
Some savvy marketers will call their brand of stevia “keto-friendly,” but it isn’t for everyone. Anything with a sweet taste might change blood sugar levels. So the only way to know for sure is to test yourself. Then consider whether reducing stress or introducing gut-friendly foods and a little more diversity in your diet and test the same thing again later.
Other Episodes You Might Like:
My better gut option: Pique Matcha: https://www.flippingfifty.com/piquetea
Foursigmatic Coffee: https://www.flippingfifty.com/foursigmatic