Is Holistic Microbiome Health the Key to Performance?


By now, you probably know all about the gut biome and how it holds the ultimate key to hacking your biological age. It’s the answer to your energy levels, your immune response, your metabolism, and even your cognitive function. A strong gut biome keeps you feeling your best and makes you more resilient to stress, fatigue, and brain fog.

But if your gut biome is really the answer to biohacking your way to 180, then why do we keep hearing about other biomes? And where can you get the most data to make the biggest impact that can translate directly to your cardiometabolic health and performance?

According to researchers, all those benefits of the gut biome aren’t actually isolated to your gut. In fact, those bacteria are found in a ton more places like your skin, your mouth, sex organs, and more. So, if you’re thinking about boosting your health, odds are you’re not looking at your body through a truly holistic lens.

I’ve been working with Viome for a long time now, and they’ve come out with a new Full Body Intelligence Test, that can close the gap and analyze multiple biomes together through stool, blood, and now saliva tests.

How does this translate to performance? Well, here’s a quick deep dive into systems biology and what it means to hack your total microbiome for complete holistic health and performance.

What Makes It Different?

Systems biology is a fairly new approach to health and disease. Simply put, it means looking at the forest through the trees. Science has a long history of looking at the specifics of one disease, but now there is a new way of thinking.

That’s because everything is connected. Systems biology reviews biological data from the entire body and not just where a health problem starts. This is then fed through computer analysis to give a comprehensive picture of total body health.

With a proper analysis of the complete holistic system (think, ‘whole’ as holistic), you get way more data to make an impact. That data can directly translate to targeted hacks that can boost your metabolism, increase your longevity, and give you actionable insight into your full body health.

Using systems biology, you can see the relationships of multiple microbiome areas and their impact on your health. And these bacteria can be impacting more than just digestive health. Some of them are even directly affecting your performance.

The Cardiometabolic Connection

You know that many gut bacteria can have an impact on other regions of our body like the brain, but new science is showing that the oral microbiome has a mind of its own, too.

Bacteria in the mouth have been shown to increase the risk for diseases like periodontal (gum) disease that can harm your heart [*]. However, these bacteria often have a symbiotic relationship with your health that includes more than just our risk for diseases. When the oral microbiome is in balance, they exert powerful benefits that can also support heart health.

Your blood vessels have a biological mechanism that helps keep control of your blood pressure. When you are poised for activity, your blood vessels increase blood circulation to get nutrients and oxygen to your muscles. Consequently, our body boosts our systolic blood pressure to between 160 and 220 mm Hg during normal exercise [*]. Without this, you wouldn’t be able to activate and power through any exercise at all.

Hormones produced in your body such as aldosterone account for this change in blood pressure [*]. Your cells also produce a molecule called nitric oxide (NO2) that works as a vasodilator that can relax blood vessels and increase blood flow. As you age, it gets harder for your body to produce the same level of NO2, hurting your performance and cardiometabolic health [*].

But different bacterial strains such as Neisseria flavescens and Rothia mucilaginosa can also improve your body’s response to changes in blood pressure by boosting nitric oxide (NO2) production [*]. When their populations are stable, they break down inorganic nitrate (NO3-) found in food in our diet and release nitric oxide into the oral environment, eventually making its way into the bloodstream from blood vessels in the mouth.

Tips for Boosting Your NO2 Producing Microbes

You’ve heard it before, but your diet is the most powerful predictor of health you can control. Your bacteria like to eat too, which makes feeding them just as important to their performance as it does for you.

If you’re looking to boost the numbers of nitric oxide-producing bacteria, there are a ton of different foods that can act as oral prebiotics and support heart health. Choosing foods rich in inorganic nitrates can feed nitric oxide reducing bacteria that produce this beneficial compound in the mouth.

Top foods for inorganic nitrates:

  • Beet root
  • Arugula
  • Swiss chard
  • Parsley
  • Leeks
  • Celery
  • Radishes
  • Turnips
  • Garlic
  • Dark chocolate

But before you go dipping your beets in chocolate, it’s important to consider the current balance of your microbiome. What works for one person may not work for you, and if your body can’t digest some of these foods you may be contributing to performance-harming issues stemming from other areas of your body.

Holistic Health is Peak Performance Health

The bacteria in and on our body have a powerful say in how our body performs. Keeping a balanced microbiome can boost our activity and performance in mind, body, and heart. Just as systems biology teaches us, it’s all connected. And so is each of the various microbiomes throughout our body.

The answers to unlocking your best performance yet can be found in your own unique biology and how the bacteria inside you interact with you directly. To get that insight, you need to know what the current state of your body is now using Viome’s Full Body Intelligence test. No other test on the market can give you the level of microbiome intelligence on the impact of your microorganisms on your whole body’s health.

With their insights, you can get even more information through a saliva test that can analyze your:

  • Oral Health (including gum health and dental health scores)
  • Brain and Cognitive Health (checking into key neurotransmitter production in the gut)
  • Heart and Metabolic Health (tapping into blood pressure and cholesterol regulation)

Combine this with scores on your immune system, cellular and energy efficiency, gut health, and more Viome’s Full Body Intelligence can be your guide to activating your best performance yet.




Not Harder

Smarter Not Harder: The Biohacker’s Guide to Getting the Body and Mind You Want is about helping you to become the best version of yourself by embracing laziness while increasing your energy and optimizing your biology.

If you want to lose weight, increase your energy, or sharpen your mind, there are shelves of books offering myriad styles of advice. If you want to build up your strength and cardio fitness, there are plenty of gyms and trainers ready to offer you their guidance. What all of these resources have in common is they offer you a bad deal: a lot of effort for a little payoff. Dave Asprey has found a better way.

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