Whoever you are, no matter how well you feel, now is the right time to turn your mind to improve your digestive health. There is almost no one on the planet that hasn’t crossed some kind of threshold relating to their digestive health. If you have ever had antibiotics, a serious virus, become sensitive to gluten, dairy or other foods, or if you just feel plain tired and worn out, it is likely that you have something going on in your gut. Digestive issues are everywhere in just about everyone on the planet. The spectrum of issues is wide-ranging from mild issues to severe and chronic with multiple problems.
All about the Human Microbiome
There is good news though, there have been some remarkable things happening lately in the area of research around digestive health. You might have seen the ABC Catalyst program that ran a two-part series on digestive health in late 2014. This program highlighted the importance of the Human Microbiome that lives inside each of us. What exactly is the Human Microbiome?
The microbiome is the collection of trillions of microbes that live within us and on us. Dr. Jason Hawrelak, a naturopath, western herbalist, researcher, and educator based in Tasmania, says that the microbiota is the farmers and guards protecting us from pathogens.
It is only very recently that scientists have started to map it and understand its function. It’s actually a genetic revolution. Scientists are establishing the exact composition and gene content of our microbiome, using advanced technology that is cheaper and quicker than when they sequenced the Human Genome.
Our microbiome has trillions of microbiota made up of various different strains. We have good and bad bacteria as well as neutral bacteria. We need them all, but mostly the good, a few baddies, and some neutral ones that can be converted to good or bad. The problems start to occur when we get sick, take antibiotics, or we when we get chronically stressed and place pressure on the microbiome.
The Benefits of a healthy gut
The benefit of all of this is that now we can relate any changes in many health problems to changes in the microbiota. When out intestinal microbiota is out of whack we can, and often do become ill.
What happens when we take antibiotics, get chronically stressed, or get a nasty virus is that we can weaken our microbiota. From here the gut farmers and protectors drop in numbers and pathogens start to dominate, winning the neutral bacteria over when our defenses are down. Then we cross a threshold.
This is only one part of the story. The liver, the gallbladder, the immune system, our brain and other important parts of our body are reliant on our microbiome protecting us, they are vulnerable once the gut is compromised. Is our microbiome the key to preventing illness?
Watch out for the next blog to find out how we can protect our microbiome and protect ourselves from a disease. This is the decade of the Human Microbiome and the time we get to create our longevity.