About the Microbiome

The gut microbiome is a complex ecosystem consisting of thousands of viral, bacterial, fungal and sometimes parasitic species. Living mostly in the large intestine and weighing up to 2 kilos, it can be thought of as “organ within an organ”. Our microbiota digest food, produce vitamins and aid in mineral absorption. They protect us against invasive disease-causing microorganisms, and play a vital role in regulating our immune system. Evidence suggests that modern diets, lifestyles and medicines alter our microbiomes leaving us more susceptible to allergies, autoimmune diseases, and inflammatory conditions of the gut and beyond. 

Intestinal Permeability- "The Leaky Gut"

In health, the intestinal barrier functions as an absorptive surface for nutrients 

while preventing the passage of viruses, bacteria, fungi, and potential food allergens into the bloodstream. An increase in intestinal permeability, or "gut leakiness"  is linked to the development of food allergies, autoimmune diseases, eczema, asthma and hay fever, anxiety and depression, and neurological conditions.   

Eubiosis and Dysbiosis

A health-promoting, well-balanced microbiome is in eubiosis. A dysbiotic bowel is unbalanced, with an overgrowth of potentially problematic microorganisms and a deficiency of beneficial bacteria. No exact method is defined, but an intestinal microbiome can be assessed with a combination of microbial ecology analysis, immune and metabolic markers and clinical symptoms. 

Restoring the Microbiome Heals the Gut Barrier and Promotes Immune Tolerance

From infancy onwards the microbiome plays a central role in the promotion of immune "tolerance", where a strong immune response is reserved for dangerous invaders, not harmless foods, pollens or our own tissues. Keystone species such as Bifidobacteria are particularly important for immune system regulation.

 

Keystone species are also responsible for the production of butyrate, an anti-inflammatory agent and preferred food source for intestinal cells, and the 

stimulation of mucus and immunoglobulin production, promoting bacterial balance. Healthy cells, a thick mucus layer, and immune defenders contribute to a functional gastrointestinal barrier which is of paramount importance in preventing allergic food reactions, the development of autoimmunity, and systemic inflammation.    

Microbiome restoration is achieved by characterising each individual's unique microbial ecology, gut function and sensitivities. Herbal, dietary and lifestyle interventions are aimed at restoring populations of keystone species, reducing or eliminating pathogens, and promoting the healthy production of digestive enzymes, metabolites and immunoglobulins. Measurable improvements in gastrointestinal barrier function are achieved, promoting immune tolerance and reducing symptoms. 

References:

Bischoff et.al. 2014. Intestinal Permeability-a new target for disease prevention and therapy. BMC Gastroenterol. 14:189.

Kelly et.al. 2015. Breaking down the barriers: the gut microbiome, intestinal permeability and stress-related psychiatric disorders. Front Cell Neurosci. 14;9:392

Quinghui et.al. 2017. Leaky Gut As a Danger Signal for Autoimmune Diseases. Front. Immunol. 217;8:598

Spiljar et.al. 2017. The Immune System Bridges the Gut Microbiota with Systemic Energy Homeostasis: Focus on TLRs, Mucosal Barrier, And SCFAs. Front. Immunol. 8:153. 

Rizzato et.al. 2018. Connecting the immune system, systemic chronic inflammation and the gut microbiome: the role of sex. S0896-8411(18)30190-2

Samadi et.al. 2018. The Role of Gastrointestinal Permeability in Food Allergy. Ann. Allergy Asthma Immunol. S1081-1206(18)030376-4

Velasquez-Madoff M. 2015. Gut Microbiome: The Peacekeepers. Nature 518;S3-S1

  • Bachelor of Naturopathy (Southern Cross University

      4 year degree) 

  • Bachelor of Science

  • 12 years clinical experience

I have been testing and optimising patient health and intestinal microbiomes since molecular microbial ecology testing first became available in Australia in 2007. Over this time I have witnessed concepts such as microbial ecology and intestinal permeability go from little known to the mainstream, along with an explosion of fascinating academic research.

 

Using a combination of advanced and evidence-based interventions including probiotics, prebiotics, herbs and nutrition, I am now very confident of achieving clinically measurable improvements. With over 10 years of experience in microbiome restoration, I have seen remarkable changes in people’s health, particularly for allergies, autoimmunity, fatigue, and functional gut disorders.

An improved sense of wellbeing is the most important change that comes 

with the restoration of your microbiome. A dysbiotic gut promotes inflammation throughout the body, including in our brains. How we feel in ourselves and our gut health are inseparably linked, and it is very rewarding to help people be at their best. 

 

Consultations are professional, thorough and targeted towards developing an holistic understanding of your health needs. Investigations and interventions are safe, evidence-based and can be used as sole treatment, or complementary to orthodox medicine depending on your particular case. I endeavour to work to a patient-centred model of healthcare, tailoring a program to suit your needs, values and what you want to achieve. ​