A Microbiome is a community of microorganisms symbiotically living in all parts of our body especially our gut. Your microbiome is like your personal history file – so uniquely yours like a personal fingerprint. Your gut bacteria knows all your health secrets, past and present and might even have an idea about the future health […]
A Microbiome is a community of microorganisms symbiotically living in all parts of our body especially our gut. Your microbiome is like your personal history file – so uniquely yours like a personal fingerprint. Your gut bacteria knows all your health secrets, past and present and might even have an idea about the future health of your body.
Your gut microbiome is like a second brain. Your emotional well-being and mental health largely depends on how “happy” your gut is. Likewise, your immune and nervous systems are greatly influenced by your gut bacterial activity. Diseases like obesity and cancer can be determined just by checking out gut activity.
The ratio of bacteria to cells in your body is 100 to 1, and each bacteria’s nutritional needs should be met.
Your bacteria can “decide” on when you should eat by sending a message to your brain directly through the vagus nerve. Dr Carlo Maley PhD says “Bacteria within the gut are manipulative. There is a diversity of interests represented in the microbiome, some aligned with our own dietary goals, and others not.” He further stated that “Our diet has a huge impact on microbial populations in the gut. It’s a whole ecosystem, and it’s evolving on the time scale of minutes.”
A difference in the gut bacteria between obese and lean individuals was previously recorded. The research also stated that irregularities in the balance of bacteria in the digestive tract can cause weight. Athena Aktipis PhD also mentioned that Microbes can influence behavior and mood by changing neural signs in the vagus nerve. Our taste receptors are then altered as it would create chemical rewards for us to feel good or toxins to make us feel otherwise.
So wait a minute, our bacteria influences:
It also means that before even trying to lose weight, your gut bacteria should be considered. If you are among the individuals undergoing countless numbers of diets and for whom weight loss just does not happen or if your weight does not seem to relate to what you are actually eating, maybe you should look at the issue from another angle and address your gut bacteria.
A study was conducted at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on how fast a person can change the balance of gut bacteria in the body. The study was tested for a year on two people. Daily activities like sleep, food intake and exercise and mood were reported.
Diarrhea was reported by one of the subjects during a 14-day trip to another country. It resulted in irregularities in balance of gut bacteria.
The other person in the study had Salmonella which altered his gut bacteria activity. Salmonella bacteria dominated the beneficial bacteria by 30%. Eventually the good bacteria revived itself to about 40% but altering its strain in the process. Eric Alm, senior author of the study explains it this way: “On any given day, the amount of one species could change manyfold, but after a year, that species would still be at the same median level. To a large extent, the main factor we found that explained a lot of that variance was the diet.”
Fiber intake recorded the highest gut bacteria change. People consuming large amounts of fiber notice a significant change in their digestive system.
Colon cancer may be detected just by examining your gut bacteria. A colon cancer study was conducted where the participants were divided into three groups of thirty individuals. The first group had colon or rectal cancer, the second group precancerous intestinal polys and the third group were healthy. Individual fecal tests will check the microbiomes for precancerous polyps and colorectal cancer.
Results showed that microbiome analysis is 4.5 to 5 times more accurate indicator to predict cancer. Gut microbes can also be a trigger or a cure for MS (Multiple Sclerosis). A paper published by The Journal of Interferon and Cytokine Research introduced the immunological components related to the gut microbiome that points to illness in MS patients:
Adding bacteria like Lactobacillus, Schistosoma and Trichura (worm-type organism) to alter gut microbiome will be very helpful to lessen MS symptoms. According to research, these microorganisms can eliminate infection in the body through their positive effect on cytokine production. Cytokines are important for “cell communication”: the behavior of cells with each other.
A person’s gut is THE main starting point of inflammation. The vagus nerve ( a long branch of nerve from your skull to your chest and stomach and then to other organs in your body) serves as the communication link between your gut, brain and eventually to your body’s organs.
Cytokine messengers travel the “vagus nerve communication highway” from the gut all the way to the brain to inform the microglia (immune cells in your brain) to act out certain operations, like producing neurochemicals. These cytokine messengers can also influence your feedback system that controls your hormones and hunger and cravings symptoms.
To sum things up, inflammatory messages can begin and travel from your gut to your brain and then from there sends the proper signals to the rest of your organs and back. Your Gut health, therefore, controls the well-being of your entire body.
You already know that everything in your life affects your microbiomes and therefore affects you physically and mentally. Any harmful effect on your gut bacteria can alter your health. Below are things to avoid to protect your gut health:
Refined sugar, HFCS (high fructose corn syrup); Genetically engineered foods, food that are treated with agricultural chemicals like herbicides, pesticides and glyphosate – their toxicity contaminates your gut bacteria.
Conventionally raised meats and other products – chemicals are a main part of their feeds.
Gluten – may decrease your ability to absorb nutrients.
Antibiotics, NSAIDS non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs and proton pump inhibitors – reduces “good ” gut bacteria, may induce ulcers and reduce stomach acid which leads to less calcium absorption.
Anti bacterial soap – contains chemicals that can affect gut’s flora.
Chlorinated and/or fluoridated water – may kill the gut flora.
Stress and Pollution – they make your brain produce hormones that can alter your digestive system and can have damaging effects on gut’s flora.
Good physical and mental health is an indicator of your healthy microbiome.
A perfectly balanced body’s ecosystem consists of a symbiotic relationship between humans and microorganisms. Factors like diet and healthy lifestyle contribute to its positive function. Your microbiome should be well taken cared of because if you neglect it, your health shall pay for the consequences.
New York Times, August 14, 2014
Forbes August 17, 2014
Science of Translational Medicine 2013 Mar 27;5(178):178ra41
Genome Biology 2014, 15:R89
WebMD July 25, 2014
Cancer Prevention Research August 7, 2014
Journal of Interferon and Cytokine Research August 1, 2014
American Journal of Physiology December 2002
J Physiol Anthropol January 15, 2014
Experience Life June 2013
Aude is an ex corporate Lawyer with a passion for health, self development and independence which lead her to give up her former career to help others through health.
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