LEARNING ABOUT YOUR MICROBIOME

Thanks to Peter Diamandis, we recently learned of a new health meter, Viome.  Offering at-home testing (stool samples) and sequencing to identify microorganisms living in the gut, Viome provides a customized recommendation of foods and supplements to optimize microbial functions.  The microbiome is mostly located in the gut and contains trillions of microbes.  According to Viome CEO, Naveen Jain, a healthy microbiome is “part best friend, part power converter, part engine, and part pharmacy.”  These are ten surprising discoveries about the microbiome that Viome has uncovered:

Healthy Food Is Not Always Healthy  You might have been advised to eat your greens, and that greens and nuts are anti-inflammatory. The data show this isn’t always true. Spinach, bran, rhubarb, beets, nuts and nut butters all contain Oxalate. Oxalate-containing food can be harmful, unless you have the microbes present that can metabolize it into a non-harmful substance.  30% of Viome customers lack the microbes to metabolize oxalates properly. In other words, “healthy foods” like spinach are actually not healthy for these people.

“Antioxidants” Aren’t Always Good For Everyone  Like Oxalates, Polyphenols in foods are usually considered very healthy, but unless you have the appropriate microbes that use specific polyphenols, you may not get the full benefit.  One example is a substance found in these foods called Ellagic Acid.  In 50% of people Ellagic Acid is converted it into urolithin A. Only the urolithin A has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Without the microbes to do this conversion, you will not benefit from the ellagic acid in foods.  Nuts, walnuts, raspberries, pomegranate, blackberries, pecans and cranberries all contain Ellagic acid.

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