The microbiome is the word used to describe the trillions of bacteria, fungi, microbes etc that live on our skin, mucous membranes and all through our digestive tract. There are actually more bacteria in our microbiome that cells in our body. We are mostly not us!

The bacteria in the microbiome help digest our food, regulate our immune system, protect against other bacteria that cause disease, and produce vitamins including B vitamins, B12, thiamine and riboflavin, and Vitamin K, which is needed for blood coagulation. As well as these important functions, the bacteria housed in our gut microbiome have been linked to mental health, gut health, weight loss and gain, and the occurrence of many chronic diseases and autoimmunity.

Prior to the discovery of DNA testing, scientists thought that our microbiome was predominantly made up from commonly known bacteria such as lactobacillus and bifidobacteria, which grow easily in culture in a petrie dish. However, in later years, when they started DNA testing stool samples, they found thousands of different bacteria that do not grow well in culture and discovered that bifidobacteria and lactobacillus were less than 1% of the population of the microbiome. Since then, science has made huge headway in linking different bacteria to health benefits and also chronic disease.

Every single one of us are completely unique (even identical twins’ DNA differentiate as they age), and so is our microbiome. No two people have the same mix of bacteria living in their gut. Research has shown that diversity in the microbiome is linked to good health. That means that we want as many different species living in our gut as possible – this diversity is driven by diversity of plant food in our diet. There really isn’t such a thing as bad bacteria – most bacteria that live in our gut can be beneficial in small amounts. However, when our microbiome takes a hit through the use of antibiotics, medications, excess alcohol, a plant depleted diet (our beneficial bacteria love plant foods and are not very happy at all if they are consistently subjected to junk!) etc, some of the less beneficial bacteria can take over and cause issues in the body such as IBS, IBD, autoimmunity, mood disorders etc. This non beneficial mix of gut bacteria is known as dysbiosis. I always assume that all of my gut clients have some form of dysbiosis and use diet and supplements to bring it all back into balance.

If I feel that I am not getting results from dietary changes and supplementation, I often ask my clients to do microbiome testing. They send a stool sample to a lab, and it provides me with a report of how their microbiome is looking at that present time. The reports are incredibly detailed, and provides relevant, current information regarding the probability of any bacteria in the sample causing health issues. For example, one of my clients was having a green smoothie every morning for breakfast and was generally experiencing gut pain by lunchtime every day. Her microbiome test found that she had very low levels of oxalobacter formigenes, a gut bacteria that helps us process oxalates. Spinach is very high in oxalates and there was a lot of spinach in her smoothie. We adjusted her smoothie and started working on bringing oxalobacter back in her microbiome and problem solved.

The science of the microbiome is still in early stages and I am very excited to see the discoveries that will take place over the next few decades. We may find that instead of giving antidepressants, doctors may provide specific beneficial bacteria to those with depression or probiotics will be used to help treat heart disease and cancer. At the moment, I always have the state of my client’s microbiome at the forefront of my mind, and microbiome testing can provide the key to their long-term health.


Fiona is one of my all time favourite people. After high school, I weighed in at 99kg. At 174cm, I have been overweight by 15-20 kgs for all my adult life. Until, at age 53, I met Fiona. She immediately diagnosed my primary problem and by following her dietary coaching, I lost 16 kgs in 5 months. More importantly, I have maintained this for more than a year now. Now, well into the second half of my life, life is good, very good. As I said, Fiona will always be one of my all time favourite people. Thank you Fiona.

Fiona ran a course at work and it was fantastic – I learned so much and she tailored the programs to each individual which worked really well. I reached my weight loss and health goals and it really wasn’t too hard and I still have treats!  More importantly, I feel much better in myself for making food changes and continued to see her independently when the course at work finished.
Charlotte Carlish
Indigestion, stomach pain and abdominal cramps, were an every day occurrence for me. I was quite desperate by the time I found Fiona. With the help of some supplements and allergy testing, Fiona Took me on a journey of discovery. Thanks to her professional and kind guidance, I now  know which foods to avoid and which ones will help my gut to stay healthy.  For the very first time in a long time, my tummy now feels quite normal and I no longer suffer any of the above conditions. To say Fiona has change my life may sound rather dramatic but it is completely true and I will be forever grateful to her.

Feeling Great, Losing Weight!

I have been working with Fiona at Physical Nutrition for about 10 weeks through a corporate program run my employer.  Losing weight and making some real changes to my dietary lifestyle has been a game changer for me.  Through her weekly tutorials, Fiona has taught me about the food I eat, what is best for my body and to gauge how I feel after each meal.  Combined with a sensible exercise routine of walking and cycling, I have managed to drop my weight by 7kgs during this period.  My energy levels are up, I’m feeling fitter and I’m eating much more balanced meals and now know which foods to avoid and which to eat more of!  It’s been a great experience and I would highly recommend Fiona’s program.

I have recently completed the Physical Nutrition 10kg in 20 weeks program and I couldn’t be more thrilled with the support and guidance Fiona has provided.
The 10 in 20 program not only helped me change my habits by giving me a coach that kept me accountable but also helped to educate me to make better nutrition choices in the future.
Thank you again Fiona & this is just the beginning, I’m not going anywhere ☺️
Paris Doran
Fiona has been working with the City of South Perth over the last year.  She has developed a customised 10 week health coaching and nutrition program with us which the City now offers as part of its suite of health and wellbeing benefits.  All of the participants were overwhelmingly positive about the program.  They rated the program highly on the aspects of Fiona’s professionalism, approachability and knowledge, as well as the results they had achieved.
I would recommend Physical Nutrition to any organisation looking to develop staff benefits.
Gillean Sharp
Physical Nutrition/Fiona Murray has really helped my husband and I to achieve our weight loss and lifestyle goals. Her advice, support and knowledge during the 20 week challenge has set us up to lead a healthier and balanced life style. We thought we had enough food and exercise knowledge before meeting Fiona but she has kept us on track, motivated us and through her group classes has kept us entertained and true to our goals! Thanks Fiona!
Alison Thair
My son is 21 and has been ill for years and part of it was Diet, and we have been to many nutritionalist’s but FIONA MAKES SENSE and TELLS YOU WHY you should be careful what you eat. She changed my sons life so I sent my Daughter who had auto immune issues and she has helped her. It is now my turn so I will keep you updated. Highly recommend her she is also very understanding.
Lisa Mann
I have been with Fiona at Physical Nutrition for several months in relation to skin and gut problems and for weight loss. Fiona is knowledgeable and supportive. I am slowly losing weight and my skin and gut issues are improving. Fiona works in conjunction with my integrative medical practitioner which is a very helpful. First time I have had any positive results, a slow but worthwhile approach.
Lynne Besant


If you have any questions or issues you’d like to discuss, please don’t hesitate to contact us.