Who gut the throne in your microbiome?

Who gut the throne in your microbiome?

The epic saga of your microbiome isn't that different to Game of Thrones: what house do your microbes belong to?

Think of your gut like Westeros, there are different houses served by multiple allegiances and different characters that play important roles in shaping the future of the kingdom.
Everyone wants to be in power: some for good, others... well let's just say that their plans may not benefit the masses. But no one is entirely pure of heart, nor totally evil, it's a question of balance between the players involved. That is the key to happy coexistence, be it in your gut or on Westeros.

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Balance comes in different forms though, and it's not necessarily the equal division of assets and land between everyone. It can be the sharing of communal space that is organised by a hierarchy.

So when the seven houses of Westeros spiral out of control, chaos ensues. You may not have White Walkers or angry Dothraki hordes in your gut, but an unruly microbiome can put you at risk of inflammation and make you more vulnerable to illness. So the main question is:

Who gut your throne?

A microbiome type (or enterotype) is one of three stable combinations of gut bacteria that co-exist in communities with one of the three families at the helm: Bacteroides, Firmicutes or Prevotella.

Read on to discover how these Houses of Bacteria work, their family motto, what it tells us about your diet and what it means for your health.

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Western gourmand

Bacteroides dominate this type of microbiome (up to 80%, but usually 20–30% of the ecosystem on average). This indicates lack of diversity, an important marker for health and wellbeing.

Members of this house are opulent: they feast daily on meat, simple sugars, animal fats and protein. In fact, they can eat pretty much anything and some indulge in scheming behind drawn curtains. If they get out of hand, their hosts may suffer from bloating and inflammation.

House Bacteroides

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Veggie muncher

Prevotella are neither good nor bad: neutrality is their motto. These bacteria break down tough fibres like xylan and hemicellulose that are found in plants. But they’ll also dine on simple sugars and sweets if they're on the menu.

The House of Prevotella presides over vast swathes of land, from the isolated tribes of the Amazon and Africa to the vegetarian tables of Europe and the sweet-toothed families of the Old Continent.

House Prevotella

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Grain lover

These guys are uncomplicated. Firmicutes are common in people who eat a lot of resistant starches and dietary fibre that are found in grains, like the rural Russian population.

The House of Firmicutes is a master butyrate-producer and boasts high yields of this anti-inflammatory short-chain fatty acid.

Regular feasts rich in bananas, potatoes, barley and oats increase the presence of ally Eubacterium on the gut territory over which the House of Firmicutes rules.

House Firmicutes

Find out what House of Bacteria you belong to. Order our Microbiome Test to map the composition of your gut microbes, assess how they affect your health and get weekly food recommendations tailored to improve how you feel.

Use promo code GOT15 to get 15% off your first kit.
Offer ends with the last season of Game of Thrones.

Ann Day
Ann Day MEDICAL JOURNALIST

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