You are not what you eat - you are what you absorb
More than 2,000 years ago, Hippocrates — the father of modern medicine — suggested that all disease begins in the gut. Though Hippocrates was incorrect in suggesting that all disease begins in your gut, evidence shows that many chronic metabolic diseases do.
Your gut bacteria and the integrity of your gut lining strongly affect your health and according to numerous studies, undesirable bacterial products called endotoxins can sometimes leak through your gut lining and enter your bloodstream. Your immune system then recognizes these foreign molecules and attacks them — resulting in chronic inflammation.
So, even after 2,000 years, Hippocrates is still someone worth listening to.
Our Microbiome Affects Many Things
Having the right balance is critical for optimal health, as our Microbiome affects so many aspects of our lives. For example our mood – are you aware that 90% of the Serotonin, a.k.a. The Happy Hormone, is manufactured in your gut?
Perhaps you have trouble sleeping? That could be due to shortage of Melatonin, the Darkness Hormone which encourages good sleep – again produced in the gut. Dopamine, the Motivation Hormone, Oxytocin, which looks after Love, trust and Self-esteem and Noradrenaline which gives you your “Get up and Go” are ALL produced in the Gut – when it is in the right balance.
Add to that food cravings, weight management, digestion and metabolism, brain health, fertility and many other things – you can see how important it is to have a balanced Gut Microbiome.
What Can Affect Our Microbiome
So what things can affect our Gut Microbiome?
Our lifestyle and the foods we eat are the biggest factors – and the most obvious, but many other things also can play a part.
For example, the amount of medication we are prescribed for common ailments – it can take up to 6 months for your gut to get over a course of antibiotics. When they are needed, antibiotics can be life-savers, but the routine over use of such medication can cause us serious digestive issues.
Even the way in which we were born can affect our Microbiome, with C-Section babies having a lower variation of good microbes, but this can be resolved with a Microbiome Gut rebalance.
Not All Food Is Created Equal
Diet is a major factor in keeping a balanced Microbiome – remember, we are what we absorb. But it is not as simple as just saying “Don’t eat this – and do eat that”.
Over the last 50 years, we have, as consumers, demanded our foods to be provided to us in easier, longer-lasting, more colourful ways – and this has had an impact on the nutrition of the foods we consume today. That burger for example, was made to look healthy, but is it?
Our desire to keep food “shelf-stable” for longer, to look more appetizing, to have “low-fat” or “low-sugar” alternatives has meant that we have moved from food which pretty much did what it said on the box, to something else entirely.
We have sacrificed good quality nutrition for ease and convenience. We can blame the manufacturers to an extent, but ultimately they are delivering what we are demanding.
POPs - Persistent Organic Pollutants
Whilst there are aspects of Environmental Pollution that we can affect through education and changing mindsets, there is another area that we can more directly affect.
POPs can have a significant negative effect on human health and the environment. We are exposed to POPs in a variety of ways, mainly through the food we eat, but also through the air we breathe and in many products used in our daily lives.
Manufacturers have have added POPs to improve product characteristics, examples are surfactants, like detergents, emulsifiers, foaming agents and dispersants. As a result, POPs can be found virtually everywhere on our planet in measurable concentrations and that means they are also found in us.
Leaky Gut Syndrome
For some people, the lining of the gut wall can become damaged – this lining, called the intestinal mucosal barrier, consists of a single layer of cells. The junctions between these cells are usually kept very tight.
However, when bad bacteria attacks this gut lining, it can cause what doctors call “intestinal permeability” and what we know as Leaky Gut Syndrome.
People suffering from this syndrome can experience a range of conditions, due to bacteria, toxins and sometimes even undigested food passing through these leaky junctions into the bloodstream, which then causes the body to react by trying to defend itself – causing systemic inflammation.