Your Health Starts In Your Gut
Posted on October 27, 2015
Shining the Light on Gut Health
I’d like to start a series of posts surrounding the mystery that lies within the core of your being. It’s not all in your head, as they say; as a matter of fact, a large portion of “who you are” stems from your gut!
I will keep this first post short and sweet. It will serve as a “teaser” for what is to come.
Let’s start our journey with some fascinating facts that you might not have heard yet. If you have, well, good for you! You’re keeping up with the every-growing database of information that is coming out about this amazing world within. It’s time to delve into our inner ecosystem that is, for the most part, disregarded as mundane or just a routine part of our digestive system.
Did you know that…?
- You have 10 times more bacteria than you do human cells in your body! Pretty scary and fascinating to think about, isn’t it?
- The collective bacteria that lives inside or you, as well as on your skin, in your eyes, ears, mouth, and other body cavities weights about 3- 5 lbs. Go pick up a 5 lb. dumbbell or several cans of beans and imagine the amount of bacteria it would take to create that amount of weight.
- 50% of your dopamine and 95% of your serotonin is produced not in your brain, but in your gut by microbes. Now hat’s something to wrap your brain around. Here’s a list of top foods that also help boost serotonin.
- A study the California Institute of Technology – focused on a microbe called Bacteroides fragilis. It has commonly been observed that this microbe is missing in the guts of autistic individuals. Hmm. Could this mean something? It could…because when this organism was taken from a human and transplanted into into the guts of “autistic acting” mice, they became less anxious, were more relational, and displayed less repetitive behaviors.
- Certain species of microbes seem to be required to steer clear from depression and anxiety.
- When mice were studied in 2011 by Canadian and Irish scientists, they found that a probiotic species, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, created the same effect of relaxation as those that were administered Zoloft or Prozac, common anti-depressants.
- 41% more calories were consumed by mice that lacked certain microbial species in their guts because digestion was impaired.
- Barry Marshall, an Australian scientist, decided to ingest a dose of the bacteria called Helicobacter pylori (or H. pylori, for short) to prove that they were the cause of peptic ulcers, rather than stress, as previously believed. Guess what? He got an ulcer. But he also won the Nobel Prize in Medicine. Does that make it all worth it? I’m not sure.
- Can you believe that analyzing sewage from cities in the U.S. could be valuable research? Well, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee thought so. In 2015, they collected samples from 31 states and 71 individual cities. What did they find? They were able to predict, from those smelly specimens, which communities were generally obese or generally thin…and they were 90% accurate! That’s some interesting dirty work.
- That leads to the fact that lean and obese people tend to have different microbiome profiles. Some bacteria make you fat, while others make you lean.
- In order to maintain optimal health, you need the widest range of little critters living in your gut as possible. Seriously. It’s true!
- In 2011 a team of Irish and Canadian scientists found that mice which were dosed with a bacterium found in probiotic yogurt and then dropped into a tank of water from which there was no escape, took longer to give up in despair than a control group that didn’t have the bacteria.
- It used to be believed that babies’ guts were sterile. Not so. In 2010, it was discovered that their first stool, called meconium, contained bacterial strains. However, infants get their first dose of some digestive microbes from their mother’s birth canal. If a baby is born by C-section, he/she misses out on this crucial seeding of the gut. There are some practical ways to try to compensate for that, but I will leave that for another time.
- You can test just what is in YOUR GUT (and other areas of your body where you have a unique mircrobiome, like skin, private areas, etc) with these at-home test kits. (Link provides you with a 10% discount on this quick and easy test.)
I trust there was enough information provided here to change your mind, if you felt that the core of your being was dull or uneventful. There is a lot more than meets the eye happening where no one can see it. Be nice to your gut, and it will be nice to you. You rely on it for your health, afterall…much more than you’ll probably ever realize, I can confidently say.
To hear more about the gut, digestion, movement that help the gut and your core, and other related topics, start here for an eye-opening interview and discussion between me and Donna Gates, author of The Body Ecology diet on this very topic.