‘Life On Us’, Interesting Facts on Gut Bacteria
I have been researching a lot about gut bacteria lately, and its connection to modern illness – mainly digestive disorders and autoimmune disorders. I’ve met a great number of people over the years being a Personal Trainer who are experiencing these issues, and there is little understanding amongst the medical community about what’s causing them. Anyways it’s a massive topic and I am by no means an expert, but I thought I’d share some information;
- The human body is home to over 100 trillion microbes (bacteria/worms) which live on and inside of our bodies
- The general consensus in western society is that germs are bad, when in fact, when they are in balance they are responsible for keeping us alive and healthy, and are as vital to us as our organs
- If you don’t have a good balance of microbes you are more susceptible to digestive and immune diseases
- Babies receive their microbes from their mother’s body, so any deficiencies of the mother will likely be passed onto the baby. A child develops its ‘full set’ of microbes by the age of 2.5 years.
- The more species of microbes you have, the healthier you tend to be
- You develop different species and balances of microbes depending on the type of environment you live in
Western people have the highest incidence of modern diseases, both digestive and immune/auto-immune, including Crones disease, MS, Lupus, Arthritis, Celiac disease, leaky Gut, IBS, and bowel cancer (to name a few). Our bodies develop certain bacteria based firstly on our mother’s microbes at birth, and secondly on the world we live in.
The Western world is over-steralised (our food, water and the home), which is preventing our bodies from developing the microbes it needs to stay healthy and fight off illness. As a result, our immune systems are left unbalanced, and attacks itself.
Poor diet (alcohol, processed foods, particularly sugar and flour), leaves the stomach acidic, which is an environment that only ‘bad’ bacteria can survive in. If you have an overgrowth of bad bacteria in your digestive tract, then you can expect to find yourself with a digestive or immune-based illness. Even our mouths have more tooth decay and more gum disease than our ancestors had.
Current studies are being undertaken where they are actually infecting people with certain worms, either through injection, or healthy ‘poo transplants’ (which sounds so gross but this is where most of our good bacteria are found), and this has actually been successful in helping alleviate immune conditions or in some cases even remove the condition entirely. So, if you correct the balance of the bacteria, you can suppress the illness.
On a more specific (and kind of first world) level, the bacteria in our stomachs are extremely adaptive. So if you cut out certain foods or food groups for long periods of time, you can expect to find yourself intolerant when you try and introduce them back in, as you may not have the bacteria required to digest them anymore.
Whole food groups are most often cut out of modern weight loss/fad diets, so before you embark on cutting a heap of foods out make sure you are prepared for the side effects later down the track. Food intolerances lead to inflammation, and inflammation leads to digestive or immune illness. Some people are actually intolerant or allergic, and this can be diagnosed with a doctor.
The best thing to do here to prevent these imbalances as much as possible is by eating a BALANCED diet with a little of every food group where possible. The amounts of these depends on your own personal lifestyle. Fresh, healthy food choices (that aren’t found in packets) are the best choices.
So if you want to cut a food group out, cut out processed foods, as thats is seemingly one of the leading causes of these disorders
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