Diversity of your gut bacteria is one of the most important factors influencing health and longevity. Here, Dave Asprey gives his view on how to manage your intestinal microbiome for optimal health, even is a busy, nature-avoiding, modern world.
Click on image for video.
Within this video, Asprey indicates that having around 100+ organisms is optimal for gut and overall health. However, much of this data is derived from studying people like you and me, today. Comparing this value of 100+ organism to a common biomarker like fasting insulin may put this number into better context.
In the standard of care, a fasting insulin between 2.6 and 24.9 uIU/mL is considered optimal. This "reference interval" is derived from running statistics on fasting insulin values obtained from our population.
This is NOT a scientific range - it is a population range.
I suspect that, as the human microbiome project continues, we will find that 100+ organisms (160 or thereabouts), is an acceptable level of individual strains but far from optimal.
In a paper titled, "A human gut microbial gene catalogue established by metagenomic sequencing," we get a bit more insight into the optimal number of discrete species that should populate a healthy gut.
Here is the abstract:
To understand the impact of gut microbes on human health and well-being it is crucial to assess their genetic potential. Here we describe the Illumina-based metagenomic sequencing, assembly and characterization of 3.3 million non-redundant microbial genes, derived from 576.7 gigabases of sequence, from faecal samples of 124 European individuals. The gene set, ∼150 times larger than the human gene complement, contains an overwhelming majority of the prevalent (more frequent) microbial genes of the cohort and probably includes a large proportion of the prevalent human intestinal microbial genes. The genes are largely shared among individuals of the cohort. Over 99% of the genes are bacterial, indicating that the entire cohort harbours between 1,000 and 1,150 prevalent bacterial species and each individual at least 160 such species, which are also largely shared. We define and describe the minimal gut metagenome and the minimal gut bacterial genome in terms of functions present in all individuals and most bacteria, respectively.
My interpretation is that 160 organisms is a low bar - far from optimal. We eat (or at least should eat) a wide variety of foods - especially vegetables. Each of these foods requires a cross-section of organisms to affect proper, complete, and rapid digestion. Like a symphony, if an "musician" (organism) or two are missing, some harmony (digestion) is lost.
Never settle for "normal" or "average" based on today's population. We are, collectively, at an all-time low in terms of health status. Our CDC explains this well, in their page on "Chronic Diseases in America."
The solution to this problem is a life-long pursuit of pre-biotic and pro-biotic intake. I will go into more details in a future blog. However, please watch the video in the previous blog. One thing you can do, that few of us are doing - is to "re-wild" yourself. Simply put, go outside and get dirty! This concept is explained by a high-level Stanford microbiome researcher highlighted in my blog - "Simple Problem - Not So Simple Solution."
Please note - we have new zoom links for the weekly webinars in 2022. Here they are:
Monday at noon EST -
Tuesday at 8pm EST -