Gut health plays such a central role in our wellness, affecting the status of our immune system, skin, nervous system, brain, and pretty much every other bodily system. The more we learn about the microbiome—and the ways in which our modern lifestyles disrupt the delicate balance of good and bad bacteria in the digestive tract—the easier it is to convince ourselves that our guts must be in utter disarray.
If you can relate to this paranoia—you're not alone. And your concerns may be valid, seeing as the standard American diet, chronic stress, lack of sleep, travel, and exposure to chemicals can all have pretty devastating effects on our gut health. But in reality, the only way to know for sure is to test. So I got my microbiome sequenced through a BIOHM gut report and then had a chat with Mahmoud Ghannoumm—a doctor of microbiology who led digestive health research at the National Institutes of Health—to finally face the truth (good or bad) about my gut health status. Here's what I learned: