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Oregon State University in the US
recently issued results of a study that said
personalised diagnosis of an individual’s
microbiome could be used to determine
which prebiotics or probiotics might help to
provide the right “healthy” balance.
The author of the report, Dr Natalia
Shulzhenko, said that contrar y to conventional
wisdom, “our intestines contain more immune
cells than the entire rest of our body.”
There is other testing being done to
prove how the microbes in our gut affect
our brain chemistry. Initial research shows
that replacing the gut bacteria of anxious
mice with bacteria from fearless mice has
had the effect of turning the timid bold.
And scientists have seen aggressive mice
calmed down by altering their microbes
through diet or probiotics.
One study that will be of special interest
to the spa and wellness industry comes from
the National Institutes of Health (NIH),
which showed there are specific groups of
microbes living in our gut that can protect
Ultimately this indicates that, despite
a healthy diet and exercise, gut microbes
could be working against us when it comes
to dropping those last five kilos.
If we can figure out how to change their
balance we might be able to tip the scales in
THE BUSINESS AND
SCIENCE OF GUT GROWS
Promoting healthy bacteria in the
body is becoming big business and the
proliferation of probiotics is set to increase.
In fact, Grand View Research reported in
November 2014 that the global market for
these good little bacteria is set to reach US
$52 billion by 2020.
Probiotics are also being adopted in
other wellness areas, including beauty and
As long ago as 2009, the Journal
of Clinical Microbiology reported on
a bacteria that prevents acne and the
American Academy of Dermatologists
confirmed the same in 2014.
Expect to see probiotics in the beauty
aisles in the not too distant future with
claims that they can calm your skin just as
they calm your gut.
There are some first movers (eg, Burt’s
Bees, Clinique) on this already; companies
that are adding lactobacillus, a probiotic
said to treat inflammation, to topical
creams with a promise of reducing redness
and soothing the skin.
You can find microbiomes in other parts
of the body too – not just the gut.
The vagina is also host to its own
microbiome and there is exploration into how
understanding it can take vaginal health to a
new level by giving women tools to alter the
make up of the microbes down under, leading
to less yeast infections but also promising to
manage their reproductive health.
One such company, Sweet Peach Probiotics,
is already being discussed in the media.
FOOD AND DIET FADS
As microbes rise in importance, expect
fermented foods, like sauerkraut, kimchi
and yoghurt to be the new kale in your
life. The process of fermentation is said to
imbue our food with probiotics (see Recipes
For Success on Page 84).
Expect to see a rise in diets that promise
to heal our guts by remov ing perceived
problematic foods such as gluten, difficult
to digest grains, sugars and starches.
Spas around the world are designing
programs around this exact concept. In
fact, the FX Mayr Health Centre in Austria
has been advocating gut health for over 40
years with its FX Mayr Cure.
Canyon Ranch in the US conducts
digestive tract analysis for its guests and
is running a special program in 2015
called Gut Feelings: Gastrointestinal Health
and Immune Function to help people better
understand gut health and how it relates to
lifelong wellness. Also in the US, the Chopra
Centre at Omni La Costa Resort and Spa
looks at dysfunction in the digestive system
and disturbances of the gut microbiome.
Research proving how we can effectively
change our gut’s environment for the
better is still in its infancy – but there’s
no denying the tantalising possibilities of
using diet, environment, and probiotics to
combat much of what ails us – through our
gut and beyond!
* Spafinder Wellness 365’s annual Trends
developed by a team of research analysts, editors
and industry experts, and is based on ongoing
surveys of the 20,000 -plus spa, wellness and
beauty providers in the Spafinder Wellness
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