The importance of a healthy gut microbiome in detoxing harmful contaminants

by Ashleigh Feltham,  Accredited Practising Dietitian and Accredited Nutritionist

The importance of a healthy gut microbiome is vital for your health. It promotes optimal immune function, metabolism of nutrients and organ health. You may not know that your gut microbes also play an important role in detoxing potentially harmful environmental and food toxins.

The liver plays a huge role in this, but your gut microbes have been suggested to potentially play an even larger role in detoxifying environmental chemicals. Your gut microbes when in optimal balance help to protect your body from environmental toxins through absorbing, dispositioning, metabolising, and excreting food and environmental chemicals.

If your gut microbiome is out of balance due to factors such as a poor diet which includes inadequate fibre and polyphenol food sources for the microbes as well as insufficient probiotic food sources this may lead to unwanted processing of environmental chemicals leading to increased toxicity in your body. This can result in many unwanted consequences including chronic disease states like obesity and type two diabetes.

Helping maintain a balance of gut microbes in favour of your health is influenced by the diet you chose. Aim for 30 different plant-based foods each week to provide your body with a diverse range of nutrition benefits as well as different types of fibre and healthful compounds to support your gut and overall health.

More than 70% of adults and 50% of children are not meeting the recommended daily fibre intake needed for health. The good news is by including a diverse range of plant sources each day your fibre goals are more likely to be achieved. To make the 25-38g of dietary fibre needed each day less daunting try a delicious South Australian Gourmet Food Company Fruit Custard with Added Fibre. Each delicious pouch gives your body between 10.9-11g of soluble fibre. The type of fibre called inulin also acts as a prebiotic fibre of food source for the good bacteria in your gut.

Take home message:

Your gut microbiome can be a powerful friend or foe depending on what you include in your diet. Make sure you are providing your gut microbiome with the nutrition it needs to be on the side of the health of your body.  A healthy gut microbiome really does make a world of difference.


  1. Claus, S. P., Guillou, H., & Ellero-Simatos, S. (2016). The gut microbiota: a major player in the toxicity of environmental pollutants? NPJ biofilms and microbiomes, 2, 16003.