Your Gut Is Connected To Nearly All Aspects Of Your Well Being
Gut bacteria is a popular buzz word in the health community. This is because over the last 20 years, a mountain of research has linked the gut with a wide range of bodily functions such as:
- The immune system
- Skin conditions
- Food cravings
- Energy levels
- Hormone production
- Over a hundred different autoimmune disorders
- Your mood
- Mental health
There are trillions of bacteria, fungi and other single-celled organisms that live in your digestive tract. This is called our microbiome (meaning: a community of microbes).
The average person has around 300 to 500 different species of bacteria living in their intestines that help you digest your meals, make essential nutrients you can’t produce on your own, protect you from disease, and even shapes which parts of your DNA to manifest and which to remain dormant.
While your body includes about 22,000 human genes, it also hosts as many as two trillion microbial genes that are technically not ‘you,’ but rather benevolent guests working in exquisite harmony with your body. Some of these microbes flourish on your skin, but the vast majority take up residence in your digestive tract.
Throughout our lives, we help shape our own microbiomes — plus they adapt to changes in our environment.
Modern living takes its toll on our gut microbiome. When our gut health is out of whack, it’s known as gut dysbiosis. This means toxins are influencing your intestinal flora negatively.
After a lifetime of processed foods, exposure to pollution, toxic cosmetics, non-organic food, antibiotics and stress, our gut health becomes compromised. Eventually, these foreign substances create an overly acidic environment.
When the pH balance goes past 7, your microbiome becomes harder for probiotic bacteria to survive. As a result, inflammations flare up.
Inflammation (due to gut dysbiosis) plays a role in nearly every type of disease, condition, or illness. Whether it’s an autoimmune disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, or eczema, inflammation is the root of the problem.
The home of your immune system
Most people don’t realize that 80% of their immune cells are found in the gut.
The immune system is a group of immune cells and molecules that protect us from disease by responding to any foreign substances they perceive as threats, particularly infectious microbes.
It’s the strength of the gut bacteria that determines whether a person shrugs off the flu with only a sniffle, or if they feel like they’ve been hit with a ton of bricks.
Research reveals that an unhealthy gut biome (gut dysbiosis) is associated with a long list of different ailments, including inflammatory, autoimmune, metabolic, neoplastic and neurodegenerative diseases.
Simply put: The more diverse your gut bacteria is, the better your immune system functions.
Low levels of healthy gut bacteria in overweight people
In a recent Danish study, researchers found that people with low amounts of healthy bacteria had slower metabolisms, insulin resistance, dyslipidemia and inflammation compared with test subjects with a healthy gut.
This isn’t a matter of genetics… rather a result of lifestyle choices.
Several well-known studies have demonstrated that gut microbiome differed completely between identical twins. This resulted in one twin suffering from obesity and the other who was slim and healthy.
The bacteria living in your gut has a huge impact on the way you feel
Equipped with its own reflexes and senses, the gut behaves independently of the brain.
But it can also profoundly influence your brain…
The gut is physically connected to the brain through millions of nerves.
Studies indicate that that an unhealthy gut biome (gut dysbiosis) can be a direct cause for depression. This is because the gut produces 95% of your ‘happy hormone’- serotonin. It’s a major key to feeling positive, optimistic, upbeat, and even motivated.
Symptoms of depression arise from insufficient levels of serotonin due to unhealthy gut biome.
A popular myth that is widespread on the Internet is that bananas improve mood because of their serotonin content. Although it is true that bananas contain serotonin, it does not cross the blood–brain barrier.
Signs that your microbiome is upset
Sleep disturbances, constant fatigue and depression – The gut produces a hormone which regulates mood and sleep.
Skin irritation – inflammation in the gut can cause holes in the gut lining that leak certain proteins. This can cause skin irritation like eczema and psoriasis.
Food intolerances – Different from an allergy; food intolerances are the result of not being able to digest certain foods properly. This results in gas, bloating, stomach pains and diarrhea.
Weight gain – An imbalanced gut can affect your body’s ability to regulate insulin, absorb nutrients and store fat.
Frequent stomach upsets – Stomach upsets like heartburn, gas, bloating, diarrhea and constipation are all symptoms of an unhealthy gut.
Factors that kill off your gut biome
An unhealthy diet – Bad bacteria feeds on sugar and unhealthy fats.
Antibiotics – Although antibiotics are incredibly important, this drug is like a bomb; as it kills off the bad along with the good. So only take them when you really need them.
GMO and non-organic food – A GMO is a genetically modified organism. Bio-engineers take genes of one species, and force it into the DNA of another species (animal and plant crossovers). This creates alien DNA that (when eaten) can be transferred into the gut.
When we consume GMO, the artificially created genes in the food transfers into the bacteria of the gut and alters gut biome functionality.
Also, when we eat non-organic food, herbicide residue kills off our micro-biome.
Tap water – Chlorine is added to tap water to kill off harmful bacteria… but it also kills off gut bacteria when you drink it.
Herbicide (like RoundUp®) runs off from crops and garden irrigation and finds its way into tap water aquifers.
Depending if your city uses re-cycled water, traces of antibiotics get through the filtration process.
Farmed fish – Because of the large amount of fish in holding pens, disease becomes rampant. Farmers combat this problem with feeding the fish high doses of antibiotics. When we consume the fish, the antibodies kill off our gut biome.
Stress – Chronic stress floods the body with a stress hormone called ‘cortisol’. Prolonged spikes of cortisol cause inflammation. Inflammation negatively affects your healthy gut biome.
Acid reflux medications – Omeprazole and Antacids are acid reflux medications linked to decreased diversity of colonic microflora.
Ironically, these drugs relieve short-term acid reflux, but in the long-term they make it worse.
How to grow your gut flora
Probiotics are a great start!
Your gut LOVES fermented/pickled/cultured foods like:
– Yogurt: Greek is best
– Kefir: Similar to yogurt, it contains anywhere from 10 to 34 different strains of probiotics.
– Kombucha: Fermented black tea
– Apple cider vinegar (must include a probiotic called ‘the mother’)
– Kimchi: Spicy Korean fermented cabbage
– Sauerkraut: German fermented cabbage
– Natto: Japanese fermented soybeans
– Tempeh: Indonesian fermented soybean
– Miso: A Japanese spice created by fermenting soybean, barley or brown rice with koji.
Pro-biotics and Pre-biotics aren’t the same
We have all heard that probiotics can restore the health of your gut. But little is mentioned about pre-biotics.
A helpful metaphor to understand the difference between a prebiotic and a probiotic can be described in terms of a garden.
Pro-biotics are like seeds that grow and flourish. But as you know, seeds won’t just grow anywhere. They need a fertile environment.
Pre-biotics are like water and fertilizer. Giving probiotics everything they need to bloom.
Foods that contain pre-biotics
Prebiotics are a special kind of fiber that’s generally found in RAW, WEIRD, terrible tasting foods…
And cooking strips out most of their prebiotic content.
That’s why it’s so important to eat them raw.
Here’s a list of the richest sources of prebiotics:
- Raw chicory root
- Raw Jerusalem artichoke
- Raw dandelion greens
- Raw garlic
- Raw leeks
- Raw onions
- Raw jicama
- Raw asparagus
- Green bananas
- Konjac root
Here’s a list of less rich forms of prebiotics but are more attractive to eat:
- Apples (especially the skin)
- Ripe bananas
To get a full spectrum of pre-biotic fibers in your diet it may be easier to take a supplement
Sometimes it’s just easier to add a scoop of prebiotic to a glass of water – rather than sourcing, preparing and forcing yourself to eat pre-biotics in its raw from.
If you’re after a high quality, flavorless, non-GMO, gluten free, soy free, dairy free, sugar free, vegan, filler-free option – then check out Peak Bioboost (follow this link).
It’s important to grow YOUR OWN unique gut flora…
Although eating probiotic foods are highly beneficial, it is important to consume prebiotics to encourage the growth of our own unique micro-biome. This native gut flora is whats most important to our wellbeing.
Everybody has their own unique blend of gut flora that carries out their own specific functions.
Rather than consuming probiotic foods, it is often better to consume prebiotics to encourage growth of your own beneficial gut flora.
Think of it like this… when a forest with native plants and tree’s begin to die off… you don’t replace them with exotic tree’s and plants…
Instead, conservationists re-plant the original native species to support the ecology of the insects and wildlife.
The same line of thought goes for the flora in your gut. Support your native gut flora and it will support your body (follow this link).