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What is the Gut Microbiome?

Your gut is your gastrointestinal (GI) system or digestive system and includes your stomach, small intestine, and large intestine (colon). It digests and absorbs nutrients from food and utilizes those nutrients to fuel and maintain your body.

About 1000 different species of bacteria, viruses, and fungi reside in your colon. The bacteria and other microorganisms in your gut are known as your gut microbiome. The bacteria help to break down food, converting it into nutrients your body can utilize.

Certain types of microorganisms in your gut may be harmful to your health, but many are beneficial and necessary for a healthy body. In the gut microbiome, the "good" bacteria do more than just help with digestion. They help keep your "bad" bacteria under control. They multiply from time to time to devoid the unhealthy bacteria of space from growing.

Fiber-rich foods, for instance, are crucial for fiber-eating bacteria that are linked with a healthy gut microbiome. On the other hand, ultra-processed foods can encourage harmful bacteria to grow and upset the gut's delicate balance. A healthy balance of bacteria in your gut is vital to achieve equilibrium and optimal gut health.

How Can the Gut Microbiome Affect Your Health?

  • Weight loss and gut microbiome: A balanced gut microbiome is not just about digestion; it plays a significant role in fitness and weight management. For athletes, a healthy gut can reduce gastrointestinal problems like bloating, enhance nutrient absorption, and improve recovery by reducing inflammation and fatigue after workouts. The process by which gut bacteria ferment fiber-rich foods and produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) like butyrate is key here, as these molecules help improve muscle energy availability and recovery.

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  • Diabetes and gut microbiome: The role of the gut microbiome in regulating insulin and blood sugar levels is profound. Type 2 diabetes, characterized by high blood sugar levels due to insulin resistance, has been linked to microbial imbalances in the gut. Some bacteria can enhance insulin sensitivity, while others might contribute to increased insulin resistance, demonstrating the microbiome's critical role in diabetes management.

  • Fatty Liver and gut microbiome: Gut bacteria also influence liver health, particularly in how they metabolize different nutrients and affect fat storage within the liver. This is evident in conditions like non-alcoholic and alcoholic fatty liver diseases, where an imbalance in gut microbiome can lead to increased fat accumulation and liver inflammation.

  • Gut microbiome in Crohns and Ulcerative colitis: Inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, are significantly influenced by the gut microbiome. An imbalance, or dysbiosis, in gut bacteria can lead to these conditions. For example, a decrease in beneficial bacteria like Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, known for its anti-inflammatory properties, can trigger or worsen the inflammatory processes in these diseases.

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What tests can help you understand your gut microbiome?

Gut Microbiome Test

Gut microbiome tests are tests employed to evaluate the level of microorganisms in your GI tract. These tests can provide an idea of the types and amounts of microorganisms in your gut. Gut microbiome tests commonly use stool samples to examine gut flora and measure gut health.

Dr. Gyawali uses the latest DNA technology called shotgun metagenomics sequencing technique to analyse the gut microbiome. This provides the most detailed information and also allows extrapolation of the amount helpful or harmful substances the gut microbiome is producing. Metabolites such as butyrate, indoleproprionic acid and hexapolysacharides can be assessed.

Dr. Gyawali will use the results of the gut microbiome test to individualize any recommendation taking into account the reason for you undertaking the test.

Hydrogen Breath Test

The hydrogen breath test is a simple, non-invasive medical test that measures the level of hydrogen or methane gas that you exhale after drinking a mixture of water and glucose. A rapid hike in exhaled methane or hydrogen may indicate bacterial overgrowth in your small intestine. The test is usually used to confirm or rule out common digestive issues, such as SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth) and lactose intolerance. The test can help your physician confirm the diagnosis of SIBO when beneficial bacteria from your large intestine have moved into your small intestine, where they do not belong. In a healthy digestive system, the carbohydrates and sugars that you consume are predigested before they reach the bacteria in your large intestine. If they have not been completely digested by then, the anaerobic gut bacteria in the colon will digest them, converting them into gas. This gas in your colon is absorbed into your blood and carried into your lungs, where it is expelled through your breath. That is how your breath can indicate what is going on in your gut.


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Dr. Gyawali is exclusively available at

Mubadala Health – Jumeirah, Dubai

Sunset Mall - First Floor
Jumeirah Beach Rd Jumeirah 3
Dubai, UAE

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I was referred to Dr Gyawali for a manometry test. He carefully studied my medical history. and realised that my previous doctor had repeatedly missed a significant diagnosis. He immediately referred me on to the necessary specialists for urgent treatment. I cannot thank him enough..

Patient at Queen's Hospital

29th February 2020