Why are some people skinny no matter what they eat, while others put on weight just by looking at a doughnut? Why do some people catch every cold, flu and bug known to modern man, yet others never nudge a sniffle? If we are 99.99% identical in our human DNA, then how come we are so different?
It may have to do with the other genetic material inside of us. The bacteria in our gut makes up more of us than our own cells! Our gut microbiome has over 100 trillion microbial cells compared to our 10 trillion human cells. So when these cells communicate they have a tremendous impact on our health. You may have thought that the gut’s sole purpose was to process food, but it's also involved in a whole lot more. There is scientific and clinical evidence emerging that the composition of our gut microbiota dictates our susceptibility to, and ability to control, disease, and it even houses the largest number of immune cells in our body.
This is how I explain things to my son: think of your body as the planet. The healthy parts of the planet have a diverse array of flora and fauna that live in harmony with each other. People are kind of like bacteria, some are good and some are bad. The good live in harmony with the land, while the bad devastate the environment and the earth suffers. Your body is the same, and you have the control to feed one and starve the other. By feeding your body properly and promoting good bacteria through the right probiotics and healthy nutrition, your body and brain will be happy and healthy.
This is how I explain it to my friends: the vast ecosystem of bacteria living in our gut has access to our enteric nervous system, linking emotional and cognitive centres of the brain with peripheral intestinal functions1. When we look at the studies around gut health and disease, a clear link is observed. Diseases associated with poor gut health include, anxiety, autism, Parkinson's disease, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, atopic dermatitis, depression, obesity, diabetes, schizophrenia, colon cancer and rheumatoid arthritis.
Taking even one course of antibiotics can permanently reduce the diversity of your gut bacteria. Numerous scientific studies have proven the beneficial effects of taking a high quality probiotic supplement, linking probiotics to weight management, higher energy levels, mental clarity and a stronger immune system. One of the best ways to maintain a healthy diversity while balancing your microbiome is a high quality probiotic – meaning one that has been tested and found effective in people.
The microbes primarily live at the end of the digestive tract. Simple carbohydrates and fats that make up our western diet, get stuck in the upper GI digestive tract and essentially leave the microbes starving. Complex Carbohydrates known as prebiotics such as Raw Chicory Root, Jerusalem Artichoke, Dandelion Greens, Garlic, Leeks, Onion. Avocado, Oats, Seaweed and Asparagus, feed the microbe community and facilitate positive hormonal regulation. So the benefit of the clinically proven probiotic also relies on feeding it prebiotics.
Essentially a prebiotic diet and a good quality probiotic are the cornerstone of
improving and maintaining a healthy microbiome within the gut.
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Carabotti M, Scirocco A, Maselli MA, Severi C. The gut-brain axis: interactions between enteric microbiota, central and enteric nervous systems. Annals of Gastroenterology : Quarterly Publication of the Hellenic Society of Gastroenterology. 2015;28(2):203-209.