What is gut health? What is the microbiome? Why are they important? A layman's summary.

There is a lot of talk around about gut health, the microbiome, microbiota, the second brain, diet for immunity, gut health and immunity  etc.etc.  Because Velvet Cloud is a live fermented product, these topics are obviously of interest to us. This post in an attempt to summarise in layman’s language some of the most recent thinking and developments in the area.

What’s Gut Health ? and Why Gut Health Is Important?

There is currently a lot of discussion and more importantly much improved and rapidly developing scientific understanding about the importance of gut health and the microbiome.

It is now accepted that there is a very important relationship between our microbes and our overall physiology.

Gut health and mental health

Does your gut microbiome affect your health?

Diet is considered one of the biggest determinants of gut microbiome composition and, therefore, of an immune system in good shape.

For example scientists in UCC have shown a clear relationship between the composition and diversity of the microbiome with health outcomes – elderly people with more diverse microbiomes had much better indices of frailty and cognitive health.

How do the microbes in your gut influence your health in so many ways?

In the words of Professor  John Cryan “Microbes are little factories producing all sorts of little chemicals , that our bodies would not make without them. These chemicals, depending on what food stuffs you take in can benefit all aspects of human health”

Can Gut Health Affect Mental Health? Can Gut Health Cause Anxiety?

Your brain health depends on what your microbes are eating. There is a whole new area of scientific studies emerging into what is called nutritional psychiatry, where mental health can be targeted through dietary means.

Gut health and nutrition

Can your gut health influence certain diseases?

When scientist looked at the gut microbiome of communities that maintain ancestral type diets, it appears that (as a result of Western diets) we are actually killing off certain microbes. And if you look at diseases like multiple sclerosis , IBS (inflammatory bowel disease) diabetes and obesity, they are not present in these ancestral communities  So now a lot of work is going into understanding the role these missing microbes have in driving these diseases.

Can what you eat, influence or prevent certain diseases?

It’s too early to be that precise, but in 2020, scientists have improved their understanding of the therapeutic effects of diet mediated by the gut microbiome in both gastrointestinal conditions and systemic diseases (Systemic means affecting the entire body, rather than a single organ or body part. For example, systemic disorders, such as high blood pressure, or systemic diseases, such as the flu, affect the entire body).

Probiotics And Gut Health

What are the benefits of taking probiotics?

A growing body of scientific evidence suggests that you can treat and even prevent some illnesses with foods and supplements containing certain kinds of live bacteria. Northern Europeans consume a lot of these beneficial microorganisms, called probiotics (from pro and biota, meaning "for life"), because of their tradition of eating foods fermented with bacteria, such as yogurt. Probiotic-laced beverages are also big business in Japan.

Probiotics and fermented foods

Benefits of taking probiotics

Not all probiotics are the same. Different strains of the bacteria have different effects. For example, one strain may fight against cavity-causing organisms in our mouths and don't need to survive a trip through our guts.

Research has been promising for these friendly critters. Potential benefits of probiotics have been seen in the treatment or prevention of

  • diarrhea
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • ulcerative colitis
  • Crohn's disease
  • H. pylori (the cause of ulcers)
  • vaginal infections
  • urinary tract infections
  • recurrence of bladder cancer
  • infection of the digestive tract caused by Clostridium difficile
  • pouchitis (a possible side effect of surgery that removes the colon)
  • eczema in children.


 Why is this good news for our sheep’s milk yogurt?

Some of the recent findings are:

The microbioimes of fermented foods are extremely diverse and their potential health-promoting attributes are superior when compared to nonfermented equivalents. Velvet Cloud sheep’s milk yogurt is a non-processed, all natural fermented food.

Consuming fermented foods riche in lactic acid bateria has been shown to enrich the human gut with these potentially probiotic microorganisms, in a similar way to probiotics. Velvet Cloud sheep’s milk yogurt is a food rich in lactic acid bacteria.

Observational data has shown that health benefits associated with yogurt consumption may be explained  as a result of improving gut barrier function. 




The role of gut microbiota in immune homeostasis and autoimmunity

Hsin-Jung Wu, Eric Wu. Gut Microbes. 2012 Jan 1; 3(1): 4–14. doi: 10.4161/gmic.19320


Feed your gut health nurture you mind – Ted Talk – Prof – John F. Cryan



GUT MICROBIOTA RESEARCH & PRACTICE edited by ESNM - A selection of content from the Gut Microbiota for Health 2019


Rockefeller University. "How the immune system deals with the gut's plethora of microbes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 October 2020.



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