Your entire health and longevity are dependent on your gut health. We have the seeds of our demise within our gut. Those same “seeds” are 100 trillion microorganisms which will become part of 21st century medicine. Throughout history, “gut shot or stabbed” meant an awful death, because the bacteria from the colon will invade the bloodstream and cause septicemia, a nasty way to go. However, if kept in their “dormitory” of the gut, these critters become an important part of healing from cancer.
“All diseases begin in the gut.”
Hippocrates, father of modern medicine, circa 370 BC
When someone hears about gut health, the first thing that comes to mind is the unpleasantness of the name. However, gut bacteria is much more than just a name. Gut flora, are vital organisms that reside in the systems of humans and other living species, particularly within the intestinal region. Ultimately our goal is to improve gut health to build a stronger immune system. There is good and bad gut bacteria.
They have a pivotal role in different bodily conditions such as obesity and diabetes apart from keeping gut healthy by producing certain essential vitamins such as Vitamin K, and scientists are currently researching on them to examine their functionality in order to produce new forms of treatments.
Male versus female gut flora
Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) was the first “rock star” scientist of modern times. Pasteur’s work helped to create cures for rabies, anthrax, cholera, tuberculosis, and small pox. Pasteur felt that cooking, or Pasteurization of microbes, was the only strategy. The only good microbe is a dead one, giving rise to the “germ theory” that still permeates Western medicine. Allegedly, all germs come from outside the body to invade us. In fact, a leaky gut can allow billions of microbes to flow from the gut into the bloodstream, causing life threatening infections, cancer, or autoimmune diseases. Which is how the co-founder of the Eagles, Glen Frey, died. Immune suppressive drugs for his arthritis caused a leaky gut, which allowed a systemic infection, which was the cause of death. Pasteur’s rival in the scientific community, Antoine Bechamp, promoted the microzymian theory, aka cellular or host theory. The scientific community sided with Pasteur. Allegedly, on his deathbed, Pasteur admitted “the germ is nothing, the terrain is everything”. Alexander Fleming was awarded the Nobel prize in medicine for his work in developing the first major antibiotic, penicillin. Antibiotics became the “go to” drug for nearly any ailment. Today, 60 million pounds of antibiotics are consumed annually in the US, with half of that amount going to animals in agri-business and the second half distributed as 154 million prescriptions, which the Center for Disease Control [i] considers that 30% of these prescriptions are inappropriate
Apart from functioning as a protective tool against diabetes and obesity, the gut bacteria also play a vital role in infant growth. The amount by which an infant grows depends on the type of gut bacteria that reside in one’s body. A Norwegian research conducted experiments on 200 different stool samples from babies, showing the gut bacteria involved in growth of each baby.
One of the most prestigious institutions, Harvard University, conducted a research in Massachusetts General Hospital by taking gut bacteria from mice that had gastric bypass surgery and inserting into the mice with obesity. This resulted in shocking results as the mice which were infused with the bacteria showed a dramatic increase in fat loss. The study deduced 2 major hypotheses: the gastric bypass surgery altered the gut flora within the obese mice, and the implanted gut bacteria produced high rate of fat loss.
Effects of poor gut health
Although gut bacteria plays a vital role in the regular functioning of the body, there are also many situations, when the gut bacteria may become somewhat of a nuisance, and cause harm to the body, instead of preventing it.
The first and most obvious problem related to gut bacteria is related to the digestive disorders. Doctors may prescribe surface level medicines such as generic antacids, but they would not be so effective to tackle problems with the gut bacteria. Major symptoms which are associated with having unhealthy gut bacteria include the following:
- Irritable bowel disease
- Autoimmune diseases
Unhealthy gut bacteria can also distort the proper functioning of the brain. Scientists have deduced that this is due to the production of neurotransmitters released by the gut bacteria. People who experience distortions in thinking and mental problems also tend to have a surprisingly large amount of unhealthy gut bacteria in their systems. Some of the symptoms include these:
A healthy gut has the advantage of supplying minerals and vitamins to the body, leading to a healthier body. Unhealthy bacteria aim to stop that supply, which is why when a person is facing mineral or vitamin deficiency, it is mostly due to an unhealthy gut, as the gut does not function properly to supply the vitamins to the system. Some essential deficient vitamins include:
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin D
Although antibiotics play an important role in treatment of many diseases, dosage of these medicines is quite important. And, often times there are many natural alternatives. Misuse of these medicines may cause harsh effects to the gut. Often antibiotics today are unnecessarily used on farm animals by industrial food companies, and also by incompetent doctors on viral infections, which causes more harm than help.
Antibiotics may remove bad bacteria, but they also remove a large amount of healthy gut bacteria, which is why unsupervised use of the antibiotics usually leads to more bodily problems. These vitamins can play a significant role in improving gut health.
Stress can certainly be a contributing factor, not only does it stop the brain from functioning properly, but also causes problems with the gut. Uncontrolled stress causes distortions in the gut functioning, which causes unhealthy gut bacteria to take control and cause havoc within the system. If one has high stress levels all the time, he/she may also have an unhealthy gut.
Although skin conditions resulting from unhealthy gut are not so obvious, many people make the wrong assumption that skin diseases originate from the skin itself. However, this is not the case, as sometimes the gut plays an important role in skin diseases. Symptoms include, but are not limited to:
One of the most mysterious diseases that occur due to unhealthy gut are the autoimmune diseases. These are not only difficult to control, but also difficult to identify and address. Autoimmune diseases are being researched today by many scientists, and have found that there is a strong link between unhealthy gut health and such conditions.
Improved gut health play a vital role in both the protection and the destruction of the body. Therefore it is pivotal that one always takes care of the gut health, and work to increase and protect the good bacteria within the gut, so that one can live healthier, happier and longer.
Ways to improve gut health
- Eat more plant food. Your 100 trillion commensal organisms in your gut need to be fed. Plant food contains indigestible fiber, which becomes “dinner” for these microbes. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, seaweed, and mushrooms.
- Maintain at least a daily bowel movement. Water, fiber, and exercise are the beginnings of regularity. Everyone who takes their dog for a walk needs to bring a doggy bag for the poop. Humans have similar benefits from exercising.
- Avoid unnecessary drugs. Work with your doctor. For decades the medical profession has dispensed antibiotics and corticosteroids like Halloween candy. This has caused havoc with the guts of Americans. Antibiotics cannot help you if you have a viral infection, like the flu. But the antibiotics can create a serious imbalance in the gut which will eventually surface as a major disease.
- Probiotics. There are bacteria that help feed the friendly bacteria in the gut. Yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut and other fermented foods are a good start. Supplements with pills of these organisms can also help.
- De-stress. There is a direct link between your mind and your gut. We literally have two brains, one in the skull and one in the abdomen. “Gut instincts” are more than just folklore. Meditate, let it go, go out in nature, do whatever it takes to keep your stress under control. Otherwise, the stress generates chemicals in the gut which can create dysbiosis and a serious ailment.
- Exercise. Humans are built to move. Do so often.