Did you know that you are mostly bacteria?
There are 10 times more bacteria cells in and on your body, than there are human cells. We tend to think of bacteria as a bad thing, but there are actually beneficial bacteria. These good bacteria work symbiotically with our body and are key to our overall health.
More and more research is being conducted on the connection between our health and the health of our good bacteria. The good bacteria are particularly important for our digestive system, our immunity and our mental health. Woman who are pregnant should also pay close attention to the health of their bacteria, because they will pass this along to their babies when they give birth.
In the coming weeks this we will offer more information on the connection between your microbiome and specific conditions. In our next blog the “The Microbiome and Your Immune System”, we will be discussing the microbiomes role in digestion, fighting off pathogens and the link between diseases such as IBS and auto-immune conditions.
In “The Microbiome: The Gut-Brain Connection”, we will discuss why the gut is now being considered the second brain and the link between gut health and mental illness. Finally, ” The Microbiome: Through the Generations” will focus on how to pass on our good bacteria to our children.
However, for now, here’s what you need to know about the organisms that call your body home:
To put it simply, the good guys are beneficial and work symbiotically with the body. The bad guys are harmful to the body. E. Coli for example is a “bad guy.” If E. Coli takes over our body, we get severely sick. Yeast, also known as candida, is also a bad guy and can take over our gut causing bloating and interfering with our focus.
Lactobacillus acidophilus, on the other hand, is a good guy. It helps us digest our food and also fights off some of the bad guys like candida.
A recent article by Andrew Moeller called the “The Shrinking Human Gut Microbiome” noted the loss of gut bacteria diversity since human’s divergence from chimpanzees. This diversity is continuing to decline.
There are a number of theories as to why this is, one of them has to do with antibiotics. Antibiotics are an amazing invention that saves lives.
However, unfortunately antibiotics are not selective and wipe out all bacteria including the good guys. This, along with antiseptics, have contributed to the decreasing population of our microbiome. This doesn’t mean that we should not take antibiotics at all, but we should save it for when it’s really needed.
Start by keeping your immune system strong. Check out our blog on immune health for some helpful tips. Also, next time you are sick, make sure you don’t have a virus before taking antibiotics. Antibiotics do nothing to get rid of viruses. Also use regular soap to wash your hands instead of antibacterial soap. Regular soap will still get rid of all the germs, but it’s not nearly as harsh.
This is obvious, it’s a living thing, so it needs to eat. For the most part our good bacteria in our gut feed off soluble fiber and the bad guys feed off sugar and undigested food. So, think next time you eat, who are you feeding?
By eating sugar, fried foods, breads and alcohol, you are giving the bad guys ammunition. However, foods rich in soluble fiber like fruits and vegetables gives the goods guys a fighting chance.
Like with any ecosystem, there needs to be a balance. There will always be good guys and bad guys, it just depends who is winning. When the bad guys are “winning”,you have what we call dysbiosis. Taking a probiotic supplement is a good way to stack the deck in the favour of the good guys. However, it isn’t enough.
There are over a 100 strains of good bacteria in our gut and it is different for everyone. A good multi-strain probiotic will only have about 15 strains . Meaning if we already have dysbiosis, taking a probiotic supplement without changing our diet is like spitting on a forest fire.
There are a number of changes we can make to help our microbiome help us. We need to make sure we are eating a proper diet that promotes good digestion. We need to be drinking plenty of water to flush out the bad guys with our stools. We need lots of plant-based fiber-rich foods so our good bacteria can thrive.
So, who is winning in your gut? The good guys or the bad guys? Candida is the most common bad guy that can take over the gut. This is because of the high consumption of bread and sugar in our diet. What do you feed yeast so your bread will rise; sugar. So, what are we feeding every time we eat sugar? It is the yeast or Candida in our gut. Here are some symptoms of Candida:
Does this sound like you? Clearing out the Candida can make way for the good guys to flourish, increasing energy, boosting immunity and improving cognitive function.
Try the Essential Balance 30-day Candida cleanse at 10% off! Contact us to book an appointment.