Hi everyone, Dr. Connie here.
Lately I’ve been so busy as I prepare to send my oldest son off to high school. I’ve also been training my yoga certification students, teaching them to become safe and knowledgeable yoga teachers.
With all this going on, it’s inevitable that I’ve been stressed. When I become stressed, I tend to experience more severe IBS symptoms.
It is in situations like this that I find taking probiotics is so important.
I get a lot of questions from you all about if you should be taking probiotics and how long you should be taking them for.
So to start off on this topic, let’s talk about the bacteria in our bodies.
We are the host to a myriad of microorganisms:
- On the skin, we’ve got 1 trillion resident bacteria
- In our mouth, we’ve got 10 billion
- In our gut, there’s 100 trillion; approximately 2-5 lbs of the weight in our gut is made up of the bacteria
To put into perspective the relevance of bacteria in our body, when talking genetics, humans have approximately 20,000 genomes, and a common bacterial gene can have over 3.3 million, outnumbering human genes 150:1 (1)
Let me just be clear, that when I refer to bacteria, the word bacteria is interchangeable with microbiome.
Get To Know Your Gut Microbiota
Our colon is home to the highest populated ecosystems known to man.
So it’s reasonable to propose that the activities and composition of our gut microbiome are directly responsible for human health and disease. (2)
Below is an overview of the importance of the microbiome in our gut.
As you can see, a properly balanced and functioning microbiome can have an effect on a variety of things, including obesity, metabolism, detoxification, inflammation, and immune modulation.
The composition of the microbiota can shape a healthy immune response, or create disease, according to Nature Reviews Immunology. (3)
So What Affects the Health of Our Gut Microflora?
- Antibiotic Drugs
- Infant Environment
- Maternal Flora
- Mode of Birth
- Genes and their receptors
At birth, a number of factors affect the microbiome of infants:
- Preterm vs full term
- Mode of delivery (vaginal or C-section)
- Maternal diet and weight
- Hospital environment
- Contact with mother/hospital staff
- Antibiotic use (during pregnancy or in early days of life)
- Feeding choice (breast feed or formula)
From those variables, our microbes increase in stability and diversity.
Factors that affect the development and acquisition of the infant gut microbiota for up to 24 months include:
- Breast feeding vs formula feeding
- Antibiotic Exposure
- Timing of weaning and foods chosen
- Home environment
- Number of siblings/others living in the home (4)
So in essence, early life exposures set the trajectory of gut microbiota and future health.
Microbiome and Aging
“Disturbance in microbial balance can have negative consequences for health, resulting in inflammation and infection, that contribute to diabetes risk and cancer.”
There’s growing research that states the microbial balance in the colon becomes increasingly compromised with age and triggers the onset of certain disease. (5)
So I hope I’ve made the point that while we are constantly bombarded by the toxins in our environment that threaten our gut health, we should be vigilant about keeping proper microbiome balance to support good bacteria in the gut.
We’re born 99% human and we die 90% microbial. So the microbes we acquire at birth affect our health throughout our lives.
It’s no wonder we are seeing more and more effects of such imbalances.
Dysbiosis is not so much about the microbes as it is about the effects of those microbes on a susceptible host. It’s about the relationship between the host and the microbe.
Dysbiosis then does not result in a “classic” infection. Dysbiosis in one patient may present with skin rash and the same microbial imbalance in another patient can present as nerve pain or joint pain.
Often, with Lupus/Autoimmune patients, an inflammatory response to a non harming microbe is what has caused the disease. Think on that a minute.
Additionally, what we eat influences the population and metabolic activity of our microflora.
Functions of Microflora in the Gut
- Metabolic Activity
- Protection– provides a barrier from our invaders
This is where the old adage “we are what we eat” comes from. Our diet determines which bacterial species and strains thrive in our gut.
No matter what your history is from infant hood until now, the good news is that diet can rapidly alter our microbiome.
An “elimination diet” for a short time, along with a regimented probiotic and gut supportive supplements, are so effective in improving your overall health.
We are dynamic beings. This means our microorganisms change depending on how and what we feed our bodies.
Living as a Lupus patient provides me with a new perspective on the impact that our lifestyle, including our diet, activity level, and stress, has on our health.
I’ve seen both myself and my patients dramatically improve their state of health, simply by cultivating awareness for their stress, mindfully choosing the foods that they consume, and incorporating movement into their daily rituals. These 3 things have changed the course of their disease and have allowed them to create health.
If you’d like more information about our complete Alkaline Detox Program where we walk you through step by step on how to transform your life from disease prone to health, visit this link to find out if this is something you’d like to take action on right away.
Thanks so much for joining me today. Please share, like, or comment below.
Until next time, have a healthy day!