Today, "gut health" elicits more than 6.3 billion views on TikTok, with creators sharing their journeys, experiences and struggles with digestive wellness.2
Coining terms such as “hot girls have stomach problems” is helping to make traditionally private medical conversations less taboo.
The vast world of microbiome care, dietary supplements, probiotics and customised gut health solutions has reached the forefront of most people’s medical experiences, and it’s only the beginning.
The current standard of care: what’s next?
That being said, approximately 15% of the US population suffers from unresolved gastrointestinal issues. Compared with other health-related obstacles, such as obesity and cancer, these problems have an equally detrimental impact on the healthcare system.
People with gastrointestinal issues often have out-of-pocket expenses of $1000–100,000 to manage their gut health, resulting from lengthy diagnostic odysseys and attempts to find the right solution without success.
The gut is an open interface to the rest of the body; what we put into it affects how our body functions. Good nutrients such as fibres, unsaturated fats, resistant starches, probiotics and vitamins support good microbes, subsequently creating a healthy digestive environment.
The current standard of care is to collect a patient’s stool sample and send it to a microbiology lab. This can take anywhere from 72 hours to 2 weeks.
Plus, many people are only tested for an indicated pathogen of interest, such as E. coli, rather than receiving an all-encompassing test to evaluate overall gut health and individual needs.
However, a new era of personalised gut health testing is helping people to reach the root cause of health issues much sooner and more effectively than traditional techniques.
Gut microflora testing can identify a broader range of pathogens, allowing patients to collect valuable information and obtain the correct treatment faster.
This is when custom probiotics — tailored and formulated to an individual’s unique microflora — are essential to addressing the source of a problem and helping people to get their gut health back on track.
As more people become empowered to take control of their gut health and more physicians become aware of the testing technology, we believe gut microflora testing will become the new standard of care.
Here at Floré, notes Sunny Jain, CEO and founder, we use whole-genome DNA sequencing and gut composition analysis to detect specific gut microbes and evaluate imbalances.
This enables us to create custom synbiotics (probiotics and prebiotics combined) based on an individual’s microbiome. Much like our fingerprints, everyone’s gut make-up is 90% unique, making it essential to empower people with targeted, meaningful solutions that provide lasting effects to transform their health.
The bigger picture: gut health’s crucial ties to overall wellness
So, why does gut health matter so much? Can what’s going on in someone’s microbiome affect other body aspects? The short answer is yes.
Aside from digestion and gastrointestinal factors, there are several ways in which the microbiome impacts other bodily functions and influences certain facets of health, such as your brain, heart, immune system and even certain cognitive disorders such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
For example, the microbiome serves an important role when it comes to brain wellness, mental health and happiness. There has, rightfully so, been plenty of buzz around the gut-brain axis, a relatively new concept that has caught the attention of many.4
Some species of bacteria can help to produce neurotransmitters such as serotonin, mainly in the gut. We’ve also seen research showing that certain probiotics can improve symptoms of depression and other mental health disorders.
Heart health is another area wherein the microbiome makes an impact.5 When not adequately monitored and addressed, certain bacteria in the gut can produce chemicals that may block arteries and lead to heart disease; however, other bacteria (Lactobacilli, for example) can help to lower cholesterol and heart attack risk when taken as a probiotic.
Lastly, researchers have historically witnessed connections between gut health and ASD, a developmental disorder that impairs the ability to communicate and interact.6
Studies of the intricate gut-brain axis have shown that early colonisation, mode of delivery and antibiotic use significantly affect the gut microbiome and the onset of ASD.
With all this in mind, it’s clear that the microbiome affects complex aspects of health beyond the naked eye. At Floré, we are currently working on several research projects that further explore these connections in a revolutionary way … and we aim to charge ahead in the quest for cost-effective and impactful solutions.
Joint research efforts making waves and advancing knowledge
Regarding our gut-brain axis-centred efforts, we engage in an ongoing research partnership with global dairy company, Fonterra, to explore the relationship between gut health and happiness.
The initiative, “Project Happy,” is a randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled study investigating the mental wellness benefits of a strain of probiotics.7
The trial was designed to further validate the findings of a successful pilot study, which tested Fonterra’s LactoB HN001 strain with 52 Floré customers to determine if there were any significant improvements in mental wellness and happiness.
Mean happiness scores increased after 60 days of consuming a probiotic formulation and rating the participants’ psychological well-being on the Oxford Happiness Questionnaire.
The difference between the data was statistically significant, showing that those taking the probiotics felt happier. We are optimistic that we will receive additional promising results from our current follow-up trial to forge the way for probiotic interventions for mental health — a core pillar of overall health and longevity.
Additionally, our ongoing partnership with Arizona State University’s Autism/Asperger’s Research Programme and the Biodesign Institute allows us to share our findings on the connection between the gut microbiome and ASD through our product: Floré Research Edition.8
ASD affects more than 75 million people worldwide; so, along with other pioneers in this space, we stand out as the supplier of a product that not only has a health and wellness aspect, it also significantly impacts the quality of life for many.
With more than 50% of participants showing significant improvements in both ASD behaviours and gastrointestinal discomfort after the trial, our two groups are pleased that an easily accessible solution has such a substantial impact on well-being.
The research has uncovered critical insight into the connection between precision medicine — in the form of customised probiotics — and both gut health and ASD.
It shows a promising path forward that will hopefully lead to credible and less-invasive solutions to improve ASD symptoms and enhance the lives of so many around the world.
Some of the participants have shared the experiences of their children with ASD, going from non-verbal to verbal, attributing this incredible leap in communication to personalised probiotics.
Although this is extreme, imagine being the parent who made a simple probiotic purchase and saw a significant impact after spending years and thousands of dollars trying to achieve the same outcome. These experiences can be incredibly eye-opening and transformative.
The road ahead
A precision approach becomes paramount when considering how we can all live longer, fuller and healthier lives. Healthy ageing prioritises overall vigour and well-being, with the gut microbiome playing a pivotal role.
As we’ve learned, extensive research suggests that nearly every chronic condition, such as heart disease and diabetes, has a connection to the gut microbiome.
To maintain a high quality of life, proper nutrition and customised probiotics are vital in terms of regulating the gut and ensuring longevity while helping individuals to feel their best.
We believe that the only way to impact billions of lives is to move away from the age-old methods of long and expensive diagnostic journeys. Instead, we aim to continue our impactful research and develop cost-effective, easy-to-use personalised solutions that relieve symptoms.
Looking ahead, we are dedicated to changing the lives of those suffering from gut health issues.
With more and more research, patient stories and clinical trials being conducted in the industry and the resulting mountains of available data, we’re starting to see a snowball effect.
And that’s part of how we can transform the health industry and the well-being of millions; you can’t ignore all these people’s journeys and authentic experiences … and you can’t ignore the science.