Oh ya! Wait, what’s a microbiome?

Perhaps you’ve heard the term microbiome tossed around, but do you really know what it is and what it does?  When people talk about the microbiome, they’re usually referring to a collection of bacteria (and some viruses, fungi, and archaea ) that live in our guts.  And by gut, I mean large intestine.  Although some bacteria live in our small intestine, the vast majority live in our large intestine: some good and some not so good.  Many of you have probably heard of Lactobacillus acidophilus, which is a common strain that lives in our gut and promotes health.  We want to have enough of the “good guys” to keep the “bad guys” at bay.   The different species of bacteria have different jobs and affect our bodies in different ways.  The idea is to have a lot of different microbial strains of bacteria, otherwise known as microbial diversity, and a healthy balance of good and bad bacteria. Your microbiome health can have profound effects on your overall health.

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What it does and why you should care … a lot!

The microbiome is responsible for many aspects of health.  The list is long and impressive!

  • Helps assimilate and produce vitamins/minerals
  • Aids in digestion
  • Assists in maintaining a healthy immune system—Around 80% of our immune system resides in our gut!
  • Helps modulate inflammation  
  • Affects mood significantly
  • Impacts auto-immune diseases
  • Affects weight
  • Affects thyroid hormone regulation
  •  Affects reproductive hormones, such as estrogen
  • There’s more, but we’ll stop here.

What does Dry January have to do with this

A standard American diet, stress, lack of exercise, all the usual suspects that negatively impact health, and of course alcohol impairs the health of the microbiome.  So, celebrating Dry January, which means cutting out the sauce for a month, gives your gut a well needed break. Consuming too much alcohol causes gut dysbiosis, which means the balance between good and bad bacteria gets out of whack.  And we don’t want that.

So, let’s get to the good part.  Yep, you guessed it: cannabis can be good for your microbiome.  It turns out that obese people tend to have a higher ratio of Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes  (two types of bacteria) than lean people.  THC can help to bring that ratio into a healthier balance.  It has also been shown to increase the number of bacteria of the species Akkermansia muciniphila.  This is significant because this strain helps to control fat storage and adipose tissue (body fat) metabolism, which can, in turn, help promote weight loss.  THC also suppresses some of the disease causing bacteria, such as Clostridium. 

Maybe this January, imbibing in some healthy cannabis consumption can help curb your alcohol cravings. Perhaps you’re looking for ways to substitute your evening cocktail or glass of wine.  You can never go wrong with a canna cocktail dosed with a dropperful of your favorite Humboldt Apothecary tincture. See our website for many creative and delicious recipes. If you really want to make your microbiome happy, pour yourself a glass of kombucha, add some Inflammation Soother, and drink away (stay tuned for how this is beneficial in our upcoming newsletter)!  How about popping one of our solventless tablets?  As many of you know by now, here at Humboldt Apothecary we’re all about vibrant health and we wish the same for you!

Susan Cleverdon
Written by Susan Cleverdon, Co-Founder,
and CFO of Humboldt Apothecary