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What's your gut health score?

by Nic Florido

NEWS ALERT: Ever wondered how your gut health measures up? After all, we’re constantly bombarded with messaging about improving our gut health.

But how do we know when things are good, and when they’re not?

The boffins at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science have been working hard to come up with the Gut Microbiome Health Index (GMHI); a mathematical formula that predicts how healthy your gut really is.

 

Back up! What’s a microbiome? 

It’s weird to think about, but we’re not the only ones living in our bodies. Trillions of microorganisms known as the microbiome also live inside your stomach and intestines, and help your body to function properly. These microorganisms contain all kinds of healthy living bacteria that influence our skin, immunity, brain power and even mental health!  

While we don’t mind having good bacteria living in our guts rent free, there are also bad types of bacteria squatting in our tums that we really should try to evict. If you have too many bad, unhealthy bacteria living in your gut, it can lead to all sorts of health problems, from digestion issues to cancer. 

But how can we tell when our guts are out of whack?

 

 

Gut Microbiome Health Index 

Boffins at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science looked at 4,347 people’s poops (gross, but someone has to do it!) to develop a way to measure the bacteria in our gut. They’ve created a mathematical formula, called the Gut Microbiome Health Index (GMHI), to find out how much healthy bacteria versus non-healthy bacteria reside in our stomachs.

The GMHI effectively rates your gut health. A higher number indicates that your gut is home to a healthy population of bacteria, while a lower number could sugget that something's off. What’s so amazing about GMHI is that is has the potential to reveal hidden diseases that you might not have been detected yet.

While the researchers are still ironing out the kinks, there are plenty of things you can do right now to improve your future gut microbiome score! Eating a variety of fruits and veggies, introducing probiotics into your diet (hello, kombucha!) and cutting back on sugar and alcohol are great steps you can take to improve your gut health.

 




Nic Florido
Nic Florido

Author




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