The trillions of microbes living in your gut can be influenced by a whole host of external factors. Below (and shown in our infographic) are just a few.
The fact our gut microbes are quite easily influenced is actually a really great thing, as we can tweak factors within our control to make positive changes.
Check out our gut tips section for more what you can do.
Babies who are breastfed have a different make up of gut microbes than those who are not due to the prebiotic qualities of breast milk. However, there are now some formula milks that contain prebiotics to support a baby’s gut in a similar way to breast milk. You’ll find more about this here.
How you’re born
The way you are born, whether vaginally or by caesarean is going to have an affect on your microbes. But the good news is there is plenty you can do to shape your microbes for the better.
By early childhood, your gut microbes become relatively stable but there are plenty of opportunities for the community of microbes to change along the way as we age. Read lots more on this here.
Exercise is one of the independent factors that can affect your gut microbes and how well your gut works – for better and for worse. Exercise increases your microbial diversity and has been shown to increase the amount of short chain fatty acids, more on this here.
Where you live and travel
Where you live, your environment and where you’ve travelled has a direct affect on the species of bacteria living in your gut.
Your gut and brain chat all the time, stress is just one example of how our mental states can effect our guts, physically and the microbes that live within in. More on this here.
Your genes can predispose you to certain compositions of gut microbes, which may negatively effect your gut.
Medicines, recreational drugs, cigarettes and alcohol
These all have an affect on your delicate gut microbes but how exactly will depend on many different factors. You can read more about the gut and alcohol here.
The one we all know the most about, the food we eat (and how) can have a huge impact on on the number and type of microbes living in your gut and how your gut physically works. Read our tips on positive changes you can make to your diet here.