Let’s Talk About Lactobacillus and Your Microbiome
The word microbiome is a collective term for microorganisms; they may come in the form of bacteria, fungi, viruses, or protozoa. These microorganisms exist in humans, animals, and the environment. In humans, microbiome typically refers to the microorganisms living on our skin and in our gastrointestinal tract, and they play a vital role in our overall health.
Lactobacillus exists within our intestinal lining, vagina, and urinary tract, making it part of our microbiome. These healthy bacteria perform a range of functions to keep us healthy. So, let’s talk about lactobacillus and your microbiome.
What Is Lactobacillus?
Lactobacillus is a type of bacteria which positively affects our health by helping the gut break down food, absorb nutrients, and fight off other organisms which may cause disease and negatively affect our health. Elsewhere in our bodies, lactobacillus maintains the microbial balance by preventing the overgrowth of harmful microbes. In the vagina, a lack of lactobacilli may lead to an overgrowth of other microbes, resulting in bacterial vaginosis (BV), yeast infections, and trichomoniasis. To boost your lactobacillus levels, you can turn to a range of fermented foods which contain prebiotics and probiotics.
Lactobacillus is commonly found in:
- Certain over the counter medication
- Sour cream
How Does Your Microbiome Affect Your Health?
Your microbiome is intricately linked to your overall health. Together these microbes can weigh between 1kg and 2kg. They act as an extra organ, and there are roughly 40 trillion bacterial cells in your body – more than your human cells.
Most of these microbes are extremely important but others may cause disease, so keeping your microbiome balanced and filled with a diverse range of bacteria is essential. While research is ongoing, scientists have found various links between the microbiome and certain aspects of our health.
Your microbiome may also affect:
- The production of essential vitamins such as B and K, which support your immune system
- The regulation of inflammation
- Mental processes such as memory, learning, and mood
- Your weight
- The health of your heart
- Your risk of diabetes
How Does Your Microbiome Affect Your Baby?
Scientists debate whether the microbiome is formed in utero or after birth, but they know that the mother’s microbiome affects that of the baby. These microbes enter a baby’s system as it passes through the birth canal and potentially in the womb. The mother passes on even more healthy bacteria to the baby with breastfeeding. To this end, maintaining a healthy diet during pregnancy and breastfeeding is beneficial to the baby. A microbiome that lacks diverse bacteria may result in difficulties digesting breast milk and fibre, a weakened immune system, and struggles with brain function.
It is essential to maintain a healthy diet to maintain healthy levels of lactobacillus in your microbiome during pregnancy and breastfeeding. If you are worried about your gut health and microbiome, consult your doctor or gynaecologist on recommended probiotic and prebiotic supplements. Your doctor will advise you on what strains and cultures are best for you and which products are the most efficacious. OMNI Ultrasound & Gynaecological Care in Sydney provides a range of specialist gynaecological and pregnancy care services. Schedule an appointment yourself or ask your doctor for a referral.
Schedule an appointment yourself or ask your doctor for a referral.