Oh my goodness, there is a lot more going on down there than we thought!
The human gut, and more specifically our ‘microbiome’ or internal ecosystem is really under the scientific microscope at the moment, and with good reason. Strong links between many diseases previously thought to be unrelated to the gut are now becoming clear, and the therapeutic possibilities are opening up for some difficult-to-treat illnesses, just working with the internal microbial population.
Here’s a quick list of what we may (someday very soon) be treating simply through manipulation of the microbiome…So exciting!
acne / autism / asthma / allergies / cancer / depression and anxiety / gastric ulcers / malnutrition / eczema / arthritis / IBS / chrons disease / ulcerative colitis / skin condition / diabetes / obesity / heart disease / inflammatory disorders / autoimmune diseases / Parkinson’s disease / MS / food intolerances / dental cavities / colds & flu….& more.
There is so much interesting reading to be done on this topic, and much much more to come in the next few years as more research is carried out…recent discoveries have the potential to change our entire medical paradigm, and the dietary recommendations we currently follow…here are a few quick points to get you interested, do some reading!
- Fat mice implanted with the bacterial populations taken from skinny mice lose weight & have improved glucose metabolism…& vice versa. Obese humans have bacteria that are really great at extracting energy from food, & also bugs that signal the storage of energy for later (fat storage). Whoever can develop & patent the killer antibiotic for these guys is gonna be popular!!!
- There are products being developed now to try and make it easy to get someone else’s fecal bacteria into your own colon easily in a not-too-gross way. (So we won’t have to eat poo as medicine, but basically it will be the same thing!)
- Identical twins with different gut microbiota can have very different nutrient statuses – ie deficiencies caused by the inability of their gut bacteria to properly breakdown the food they eat into useable nutrients.
- Your gut bacteria will gradually become very similar to those you share your environment & meals with
- Very low carb diets may not be so trendy in coming years, as they can starve our friendly bacteria of food & cause them to eat through our gut’s protective mucous layer, leaving us open to infection & the development of leaky gut syndrome & the problems which stem from that.
Keep the Little Helpers Happy and Breeding
So…without knowing yet what the ideal ‘microbiome supporting diet” is (there’s a lot of research currently being done), here are a few ‘healthy gut bacteria cultivation basics’ that we can all practice to keep our little helpers happy & breeding!
1) fibre – eat loads more of it & get it from varied sources! (Not just all-bran & psyllium!!)
2) antibiotics & probiotics…choose wisely when you use these – they can really change the balance. We have many, many strains of bacteria living on & inside of us – most of them help us.
3) Refined grains, alcohol, sugar, chlorinated water & foods containing chemicals, artificial sweeteners, preservatives, hormones & antibiotics are all detrimental to a healthy gut. Avoid them where possible.
4) Eat a large variety of foods, as fresh & organic as possible (even with a bit of dirt still on them, fresh from the organic farm!!)
…and you never know, if you move in with a really skinny family – you might be able to miraculously lose those last few kgs! [divider]