“All disease begins in the gut.”  -Hippocrates

Loss of microbial gut diversity a threat to women's wellness?

The microbiome plays a big role in women's wellness. A woman can revolutionize her health by improving her gut flora.  When it comes to Women's Health issues, there are numerous studies done and has revealed that gut flora and women's health correlation present specifically pertaining to her general health, weight loss, acne, PCOS, Infertility, Endometriosis, and mental health. Unlike our genes, gut flora is influence by our diet , environment and stress. 

Microbiome and Microbiome Diet in Women's Wellness

The Microbiome Diet was created to rebalance flora in the gut. The diet focuses overall on increasing fiber intake, lowering carbohydrate intake and avoiding processed foods and added/artificial sweeteners. Fiber is important because one study found that, "soluble dietary fiber resulted in a decreased ratio of Firmicutes/Bacteroidetes at the phylum level, and an increased relative abundance of the genera Roseburia at the genus level. These findings indicate that soluble dietary fiber improves energy homeostasis and prevents obesity by increasing the diversity of the gut microbiota and the colonization of beneficial bacteria" (1). Fiber can help with chronic diseases as well as obesity due to increased gut colonization. Foods with high levels of prebiotics and probiotics are thought to be advantageous to gut health and are recommended with the microbiome diet. These foods include "asparagus, garlic, artichoke, onions, leeks, radishes, kefir, yogurt, fermented vegetables, kimchi, sauerkraut" (2). The microbiome diet can be used for many reasons including obesity, and conditions discussed below such as PCOS, infertility and endometriosis.

 

PCOS

There is a role of the microbiome diet in polycystic ovarian syndrome. "The gut microbiome in women with PCOS have been found to be different than those without the syndrome" (3) Therefore, following a microbiome diet (reducing fat intake, increasing fiber, restricting processed foods and added sugars) may improve symptoms of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. In a study in Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism., it found out that  Anaerococcus spp., Odoribacter spp., Roseburia spp., and Ruminococcus bromii spp. of microbiomes were lower.. These four types of bacteria spp.  are known to synthesize short-chain fatty acids, which are involved in processes such as down regulation of bacterial virulence, maintenance of colonic homeostasis, and anti-inflammatory effects.. (7)
 

Infertility

The women with infertility has a varied microflora. Studies have found out that Candida, enterococci, and Gram-negative bacilli such as E. coli more prevalent in infertile women ( 8).  Other research has found this array of bacteria to be associated with BV, which is characterized as a disruption of normal vaginal microflora that occurs when lactobacilli are replaced by Gram-negative and Gram-positive anaerobic bacteria.(8)Additionally, for patients struggling with infertility, "several studies have shown that probiotic supplementation can attenuate inflammatory biomarkers. It is plausible that the use of probiotics to down-regulate non-specific chronic inflammation could potentially enhance fertility" (4). Foods containing probiotics are mentioned above and would be an option to consider in patients wishing to conceive. Asymptomatic vaginosis was more prevalent among women with primary infertility , checking once vaginal microbiome may be a key factor. Educated women and working women are more likely to have asymptomatic vaginosis . (8)

Endometriosis

In another study, "endometriosis monkeys had significantly fewer lactobacilli (good bacteria) and significantly more gram negative bacteria" (5). This difference in the microbiome between endometriosis versus no endometriosis shows the possible effects a microbiome diet could have on symptoms of endometriosis. "Lactobacilli are known as the keystone species of the vaginal microbiota in reproductive-age women. Cervical bacteria are predominantly those of the Lactobacillus genus. The lactic acid produced by the vaginal microbiota helps maintain a low pH of 3.5–4.5, a major factor in limiting the growth of potentially harmful bacteria. Alterations in the vaginal microbiota play a role in common conditions such as bacterial vaginosis, sexually transmitted diseases, urinary infections and preterm birth" (6).


 

If you are struggling with any of these problems or other chronic conditions, the microbiome diet may be the therapy you haven't tried yet. A full description of the microbiome diet can be found at kellmancenter.com/2016/11/the-microbiome-diet-101-part-2/.

 

 

References

1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29462619

2. kellmancenter.com/2016/11/the-microbiome-diet-101-part-2/

3. www.pcosnutrition.com/guthealth/

4. https://holisticprimarycare.net/topics/topics-a-g/digestive-health/1351-can-probiotics-influence-fertility-its-conceivable.html

5. http://minochahealth.typepad.com/gut/2016/02/endometriosismicrobiomegutbacteria.html

6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5645390/

7. JCEM 2018; DOI: 10.1210/jc.2017-02153

8. http://contemporaryobgyn.modernmedicine.com/contemporary-obgyn/news/infertility-and-vaginal-microbiome

Focus on your microbiome

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