Microbes aren’t our enemy; they are actually key to our health. The 23,000 genes that comprise the human genome pale in comparison with the 3.3 million microbes that live in our guts. Each adult contains approximately 100 trillion of mostly beneficial bacteria — that’s about 3.5 pounds of microorganisms!
Microbes are a big part of who we are and are essential to our lifelong health.
This blazes the trail to a new way of thinking, and personally has prompted me to reconsider a lot of things, including the “nature of the self.”
Researchers are now concluding that we are made up of microbes such as bacteria, yeasts, viruses, and even parasites. Together, these make up the microbiome; the combined genetic material of all our microorganisms — bacteria and other minute entities that profoundly influence our personalities, mental well being, and overall health.
Our Friends The Microbes
The diverse multitude of tiny, invisible creatures help us out in all kinds of ways, they help us digest food, make vitamins, protect us from diseases, sculpt our organs, tune our immune systems, and even shape our behavior. In turn, our emotions and the cognitive centers of the brain are intimately connected to our intestinal functions.
This is called the gut-brain axis (GBA), which consists of bidirectional communication between the central and the enteric nervous system (A kind of “second brain” that directly controls the gastrointestinal system). This allows the gut to send and receive signals to and from the brain through the vagus nerve, a long meandering bundle of motor and sensory fibers that links the brainstem to the heart, lungs, and gut. It also branches out to touch and interact with the liver, spleen, gallbladder, ureter, female fertility organs, neck, ears, tongue, and kidneys.
Recent research describes the importance of gut microbiota in influencing these interactions. This interaction between microbiota and GBA appears to take place through signaling from gut-microbiota to brain and from brain to gut-microbiota by means of neural, endocrine, immune, and humoral links.
The Microbe Imbalance
Unfortunately our modern existence equals dysbiosis, aka a microbial imbalance inside our body. Overuse of antibiotics, lousy diet, contaminated food or water, disease, and pesticides will do you in. This consequently can cause central nervous disorders (e.g., autism, anxiety-depressive behaviors) and functional gastrointestinal disorders (e.g, Crohn’s Disease, Celiac Disease) In particular, irritable bowel syndrome can be considered an example of the disruption of these complex relationships, and a better understanding of these alterations might provide new targeted therapies.
For most of the 20th century, we were at war with microbes. But if microbes are part of our immune system, who is fighting whom?
We now know the reality is this: Good bacteria are essential for metabolism and cognitive functions. When our microbiome is deficient, that ship needs to be righted through probiotic supplements and healthy foods loaded with beneficial strains of microorganisms.
Here are 6 simple ways to improve our health and nurture the gut-brain axis.
- Avoid Antibiotics: HoneyColony regularly reports on Antibiotic Resistance Epidemic. No question that antibiotics wreak havoc on the balance in your gut. Instead, try our Silver Excelsior Serum, which wipes out bacterial infections without impacting your healthy gut bacteria.
- Probiotics. We are just learning the intricate nature of probiotic strains. Make sure you’re keeping yours in tip top condition with our Just Thrive Probiotic.
- Reduce Inflammation: Stay active and supplement with Molecular Hydrogen. Simply dissolve two of our Hydra tablets in drinking water and drink it daily.
- Alleviate Stress: Have you ever had a “gut-wrenching” experience? Do certain situations make you feel nauseous? The gastrointestinal tract is sensitive to emotion because it’s also lined with neurons. Anger, anxiety, sadness, elation — all of these feelings (and others) can trigger symptoms in the gut. A mounting body of evidence links anxiety, depression, and even sleep deprivation to gut health.
- Eat Healthy Fats: Benefits range from protecting your heart to helping with digestion; but it’s also a great pick for improving your mood. MCT oil is made up of medium-chain triglycerides, a form of saturated fatty acid that has numerous health benefits, ranging from improved cognitive function to better weight management. They reduce the risks of low-fat diets, and they’re supportive of your gut environment, especially since they have the capability to combat harmful bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites.
- Food As Friend Or Foe: The food we eat feeds our gut microbes and directly impacts their survival. Within two days of changing diet, our gut species change. Avoid processed food. Many holistic practitioners believe fruits, vegetables, and are the best sources of nutrients for a healthy microbiota. Recent studies show how simple improvements in diet can help treat cases of major depression, especially the introduction of fresh, pesticide-free vegetables, which aid gut flora and improve gut health.
How we talk about our microbes reflects how we think about ourselves and others. That’s. We need to figure out how to live with all the members of our bodies. How might our world (and bodies) be different if we behaved as resilient communities where the “others” are part of ourselves, rather than invaders, terrorists, colonizers, or competitors?
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Maryam Henein is an investigative journalist, professional researcher, and producer of the award-winning documentary Vanishing of the Bees.
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