(NaturalHealth365) Your gastrointestinal or GI tract is the engine for your entire body. To survive, your cells extract nutrients from the food you eat for energy, as well as other essential matter such as oxygen, within your GI tract. It’s an extraordinary and complex 30-foot system that starts with your mouth and ends with the anus. Bloating, gas, and other stomach ailments are typical symptoms – which signal that your digestive system is disturbed. However, new research is finding that bad stomach bacteria triggers much more.
New studies are proving that microbes play an important role in every aspect of health – not just your gut health. They ensure your digestive wellbeing and influence your risk for obesity, diabetes, and cancer. Additionally, they even affect your moods, emotions, and personalities.
One drop of fluid in your stomach carries a billion bacteria
All of the organisms that live in or on your body – bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoa, helminths (worms), and all of their genes – are called the microbiome. You may be shocked to know that your microbiome includes a hundred trillion microbes of thousands of species, and just one drop of fluid in your colon carries more than a billion bacteria.
Each person has a unique microbial footprint. Its reflection is based on a variety of things such as the health of your parents, how your mother gave birth (vaginally or Caesarean), where you were born, whether you were breastfed, what you’ve eaten, where you’ve lived, past infections, medications/antibiotics, hormone levels, stress levels, exposure to toxins, plus much more. This microbial mix is so distinctive that it is a more accurate identifier than your own DNA.
An unbalanced microbiome causes physical illness
Science has known about the microbiome since the 1600s when Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, a Dutch scientist who is also known as “the father of microbiology” discovered “little living animalcules, very prettily a-moving” under the microscope when viewing his own dental plaque. For centuries afterwards, the medical community viewed microbes as things to ‘destroy.’ After all, bacteria such as strep and viruses such as flu make the body sick.
However, science now knows that most microbes within the body do not cause illness. In fact, they are important for health and defend against the penetration of harmful microorganisms. But, the reality remains, subtle imbalances in microbial populations can lead to disease.
According to a report published in the Orvosi Hetilap, imbalances lead to dysbiosis which induce numerous negative metabolic functions. This may result in “metabolic endotoxaemia, inflammation, impaired glucose metabolism, insulin resistance, obesity, and contribute to the development of metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, autoimmunity, and carcinogenesis.”
Psychological disorders linked to bad stomach bacteria
A paradigm shift in neuroscience is currently happening as more and more studies are finding that gut microbiome is linked to the central nervous system. According to Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience, the “gut microbiota can modulate brain development, function, and behavior by immune, endocrine, and neural pathways of the brain-gut-microbiota axis.”
The Clinical Psychopharmacology and Neuroscience recently reported that gut microbiota activates “the immune and central nervous systems, including commensal and pathogenic microorganisms in the gastrointestinal tract” by producing and delivering neuroactive substances and certain hormones which act on the gut-brain axis. Research is showing gut microbiota as being linked with neuropsychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, autistic disorders, anxiety disorder, and major depressive disorders.
Additionally, new studies are showing that deficits in intestinal permeability contribute to low-grade inflammation observed in depression. Since gut microbiome plays a critical role in regulating intestinal permeability, both clinical and preclinical evidence now supports the “leaky gut” concept – which has been disregarded by many doctors in the past.
Balancing your microbiome is essential for optimal health
As researchers learn more about microbes and how they keep the human body and mind healthy, our understanding may lead to more focused and effective treatments. The good news is that natural treatments may be able to restore any imbalances you may have.
Supplementing a healthy organic diet with a quality probiotic may also be required – depending on your situation. Be sure to choose one that contains the major species Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium with several other strains. While a probiotic replenishes friendly bacteria in your intestinal tract, it should also include prebiotics which nourish the friendly bacteria. And, of course, a reasonable amount of moderate exercise can also boosts the ’good’ bacteria in your gut.
In addition, stay away from things that destroy your gut health. First and foremost, stay away from antibiotics if you can. According to the American Society for Microbiology, one course of antibiotics can affect the diversity of microorganisms in the gut for up to a year. Other medications, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (ibuprofen), processed and genetically modified foods, and chemical cleaners are also some of the things you may want to avoid.
Editor’s note: One of the greatest sources of toxins – throughout the body – come from infections and heavy metals in the mouth. Discover the health benefits of good oral health – sign up today for INSTANT access to the Holistic Oral Health Summit.
About the author: Abby Campbell is a medical, health, and nutrition research writer. She’s dedicated to helping people live a healthy lifestyle in all aspects – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Abby practices, writes, and coaches on natural preventive care, nutritional medicine, and complementary and alternative therapy.
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