by Lisa Breitenwischer, CHHC
Could be your gut bugs are out of balance.
Did you know that we are only 10% human? 90% of our cells are non human, microbial cells. Our gut harbors a complex community of over 100 trillion microbial cells, which influence human physiology, metabolism, nutrition and immune function. Disruption to the gut microbiota has been linked with gastrointestinal conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerate colitis, obesity & malnutrition, diabetes and more.
There are good guys and bad guys in the world of the gut. When we’re first born, our bodies are quite pristine and the digestive tract is sterile. As we grow older and are introduced to new substances and bacteria species, more species colonize the gut. They are the beginning of our natural defense system.
Healthy gut bugs or microbiota, act like quarterbacks in our intestinal tracts: They call the shots and control the tempo by helping our bodies digest and absorb nutrients, synthesize certain vitamins, and rally against intruders, such as influenza and toxic cancer-forming carcinogens. In addition to boosting our immune system, microbiota sends messages to our brain and helps regulate metabolism. When the good bugs and bad bugs (bacteria) maintain a harmonious balance in the gut it is called Symbiosis.
When the bad guys take over, it means there is an imbalance of microbial colonies. It is the opposite of Symbiosis and is referred to as Dysbiosis. This is most common in the digestive tract, but it can happen anywhere there is an exposed mucous membrane, such as the skin.
The bacteria live in harmony in a healthy digestive tract by keeping each other in check so no one specific strain can dominate. What happens in a disturbed system is a strain’s decreased efficiency at checks and balances. This can result in one colony becoming dominant and one becoming weaker. It encourages a chronic imbalance, debilitates the good guys and compromises our system as a whole. The good guys are imperative! They help us with digestion, absorption, produce vitamins, control growth of harmful microogranisms, and keep the intestinal cells well fed by creating short chain fatty acids. (Short chain fatty acid is important as it has anti carcinogenic and anti-inflammatory properties to keep the colon healthy).
Often times all we need to do is reinforce the good guys in order to get rid of the bad guys. We can support them a great deal via nutrition and natural supplements. It’s one of the first steps you can take to get a healthier GI tract, along with healthier skin, stronger immune system, more energy, better moods…the list goes on.
Here are a few gut bacteria foods to incorporate into your diet to increase healthy gut flora or microbiota:
- Broccoli and cruciferous vegetables (cauliflower, kale and cabbage) – they can help reduce inflammation.
- Beans- any legume will release short chain acids.
- Blueberries- can modify the microbiota to improve immune function.
- Fermented plant-based foods (sauerkraut & kimchi)- they inoculate the gut with health micro-organisms that will crowd out the bad guys, improving nutrient absorption & improve overall health.
If you your gut is telling you that you need something more join my next 7 Day Earth Cleanse beginning May 14th. This cleanse is designed to heal the gut/digestive tract by strengthening the microbiota so you and your body can get on the path to good health. (Benefits may include weight loss, decrease in bloating, increase in energy, better sleep, decrease in cravings, improved skin and nails.)