Gut health, Gut flora, the Microbiome, Candida, SIBO….these are just a few of the many buzz words floating around currently in health communities and in health magazines pertaining to gut health.
There is immense research being done on the human microbiome and the role it plays in our health. SO much is being discovered, yet this area of research is still considered to be in it’s infancy.
As much as this information is new to many of us, the concept of the gut affecting the overall health and well being of the whole body (digestion, cognitive health, immune system, mood, emotions, heart, lungs…everything!) is age old knowledge.
As Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, so simply stated many years ago, “All Disease begins in the gut”. If this is true, then we could also say “A healthy gut prevents disease” and “a healthy gut equals a healthy body”.
Today, however, we are experiencing more disease, infertility, autoimmune conditions, cancer, cognitive diseases such as Alzheimers, Parkinsons, Dimentia, Autism than ever before. Disease seems to be running rampant, affecting us and so many of our friends and loved ones.
Looking at the constant stream of research being done on the microbiome, it is apparent that something is desperately wrong with the state of most people’s guts.
This begs the following questions…
Where does your gut health begin?
How does your gut get established?
Why are some people miraculously thin and look relatively healthy despite eating junk food?
Let’s dive in and answer some of those questions!
Why Is This Information SO Important?
The state of our gut and what lives inside it, our gut flora, largely determines our immune health, emotional health and overall vitality. Many of the health issues that have befallen us and our children have much to do with the state of our gut flora. If your gut flora is dis-regulated and unhealthy the rest of body will suffer. (1) (2) (3) (4)
About 90 percent of all cells in our body consists of our gut flora. That means we are mostly comprised of these powerful micro-organisms.
They are responsible for regulating our digestion, immune function, absorption of nutrients, and keeping our gut-lining strong, and intact. Doing this, in order to keep toxins from leaking into our bloodstream.
Therefore, it is of utmost importance that your gut flora is healthy and balanced. The good beneficial gut bacteria should far outweigh the pathogenic bacteria.
When your gut flora is out of balance, your immune system weakens, making you more vulnerable to sickness and disease (such as autoimmune diseases). The tight junctions in the lining of your gut walls weakens often resulting in leaky gut.
The condition of our gut lining is directly related to the health of our gut flora. In a healthy gut, the junctions in the cell lining of the intestine are tightly sealed, keeping the contents in your intestines (such as partially digested food, toxins, etc.) from entering your bloodstream.
When you have leaky gut:
-your digestive system is unable to work properly
-you are unable to properly absorb nutrients from your food
-dangerous toxins leak into your bloodstream instead of being safely eliminated through your bowel and out of your body
-you are at a higher risk for developing allergies, autoimmune diseases and even neurological imbalances
All this nightmare results from damaged gut flora.
Where It ALL Begins…
The fact is, we received the blueprint for our microbiome from our mothers. There is significant research showing that the mode of delivery makes a big impact on the state of a child’s gut flora. (5) AND there is growing research that we even get inoculated to bacteria while IN our mother’s womb from the placenta. (6).
If the child is born vaginally, the mother’s birth canal contains microbes from her intestinal flora. By swallowing amniotic fluid in the birth canal, the baby get’s an inoculation of gut bacteria. (5)
Upon delivery, the newborn’s gut bacteria will begin to form through a variety of factors ranging from the mode of birth and internal factors, as well as external factors. This includes interactions with doctors and the environment. (5) If not born vaginally, the newborn does not get that first important inoculation of gut flora from the mother’s birth canal. Although vaginal birth is optimal it is not always possible. (7)
Clearly, nature designed us to get a large inoculation of beneficial gut bacteria from our mother, specifically at birth. (1) Therefor the state of our mother’s gut flora directly effects our gut bacteria.
What even more astounding is that science is now showing we ALSO get our Mitochondrial DNA from our mothers. The Mitochondria are one of the most powerful indicators of our health. They are the powerhouse for each and every cell in our body.
If our Mitochondria are sick, we’re sick. They produce the ATP energy that feeds our cells. The power of these small organelles in every cell is astonishing. Their ability to manipulate DNA expression and cell health is second to none. Not to mention that the richest concentration of Mitochondria lies in your head. That’s right, your brain contains the greatest abundance of these life giving powerhouses.
7. Dominguez-Bello, Maria G., et al. “Delivery mode shapes the acquisition and structure of the initial microbiota across multiple body habitats in newborns.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 107.26 (2010): 11971-11975.