A human body is like a planet inhabited by huge numbers of various micro-creature (Yes, you have microscopic critters living in and on you at all times). In Fact, the diversity and richness of this life can rival even life on Earth itself! Inside of our digestive system, on our skin, in and around our eyes, the respiratory and excretory (elimination) organs are happily co-existing with trillions of invisible lodgers. This makes one large ecosystem of macro- and micro-life, living together in harmony. Our bodies live in a symbiotic relationship, where neither party can live without the other (Just like you and your partner or yoga studio—except on a way smaller level)
“Here Are a Couple of Cool Facts about Beneficial Bacteria that You Probably Did Not Know”
- The largest colonies live in our digestive system
- In a healthy adult, on average, carries 1.5-2 kg of bacteria in the gut. That's a whopping 3.3 to 4.4 pounds!!
- These bacteria are a highly organized micro-world with certain species predominating and controlling other. Think of it as the military where you have multiple divisions of labor and rank of importance.
- Gut Micro-flora can be divided into three groups:
- Essential or Beneficial flora, Opportunistic flora and Transitional flora.
- The whole length of the digestive tract is coated with a bacterial layer, much like a thick layer of turf on the inside of our gut wall. This coating provides a natural barrier against invaders, undigested food, toxins and parasites.
“Without protection the gut wall is open to invasion by anything that comes along: a virus to a vaccination or the environment, a ubiquitous fungus such as Candida albicas (Yeast Infection), various bacteria and parasites and toxic substance, all of which are very capable of damaging every organ and system in our bodies.”
- If the gut flora is damaged, the best foods and supplements in the world may not have a good chance of being broken down and absorbed.
- Fibre is one of the natural habitats for beneficial bacteria in the gut. They feed on it producing a whole host of good nutrition for the gut wall and the whole body.
- A newborn child is born with a sterile gut (aka, no bacteria—good or bad. It is up to the breastfeeding mother to impart all of her flora/bacteria to an infant. That's actually what people mean by "the mother passes on her immunity or immune system to the child" via breast-feeding.
People with abnormal gut flora are not only susceptible to a whole host of bacteria, viruses and infections (we will cover this topic in an blog about immunity), but most have multiple nutritional deficiencies. The most common deficiencies are:
- Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B3 B6, B12, C, A, D
- Folic acid
- Pantothenic acid
- Omega-3, omega-6, omega-9 fatty acids
- Alpha-ketoglutaric acid
- Glutathione and other nutrients
This usual list of nutritional deficiencies includes some of the most important known nutrients for normal functioning and development of the brain, immune system and the rest of the body. And all of this start in the flora of the gut!
“A well functioning gut with healthy gut flora holds the roots of our health. And, just as a tree with sick roots is not going to thrive, the rest of the body cannot thrive without a well functioning digestive system.”
The bacteria population of the gut—the gut flora—is the soil around those roots, giving them their habitat, protection, support and nourishment.
As we know, the roots of a tree, invisible, hidden deep under the ground, play a crucial role in the well being of every branch, every twig and every little leaf on that tree. In the same way the diverse and multiple functions of the gut flora reach in the body far beyond the gut itself.
I highly recommend starting out with a Probiotic that can be trusted for its purity and ability to thrive/grow in the gut (Yes, all beneficial flora take a pre determined time to grow within our gut before it maturates and can actually perform its lifesaving designated roles.)
For more information on a healthy gut, check out Dr. Natasha Campbell-Mcbride book; “ Gut and Psychology Syndrom.” revised and expanded edition ISBN:978-0-9548520-2-30