What you need to know about gut bacteria

Human beings are a collection of species made up of hundreds of millions of different bacteria. Every part of our body contains bacteria of some form or another that acts symbiotically with us.

For instance, the bacteria that inhabit our skin eat up cell debris and protect us from unwanted bacterial intrusion. They work to maintain our skin as a barrier to the outside world. Those bacteria even talk to the rest of our body.

One of the most populated areas of friendly bacteria in our body is the gut, with the alimentary canal going all the way from our mouths to our anuses.

Different parts of the gastrointestinal system host different kinds of bacteria at different times of our lives. In fact we are now considering the microbiome (our collection of symbiotic bacteria) containing those microbes (human-friendly bacteria) as perhaps an organ in itself.

These bacteria do several jobs including:

• Fighting off unwanted harmful bacteria, viruses and infestations

• Digesting complex carbohydrates in the large intestine

• Eating up undigested harmful parts of food

• Alerting us to toxic overload

• Diagnosing whether our health is out of balance

• Provoking the maintenance of body tissues

• Helping create and maintain hormones

• Taking part in the neurological signalling system of the body

In today’s modernised world, that microbiome is always under assault and attack from antibiotics, drugs, medical procedures, poor diet, exposure to chemicals, disinfectants and sanitisers and poor lifestyles. We are now so divorced from nature that it is estimated that every 1 in 3 people will get cancer, IBS, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, mental illness and a range of chronic illnesses.

When we look at the gut of these sick people in the laboratory, one thing is very clear: the balance and profusion of different types of natural bacteria has been devastated with many whole species being completely wiped out within the body, leaving room for disease-provoking infections and infestations to invade.

The need for balance

One of the most important parts of the microbiome is the diversity of the collection of the friendly bacteria that live on, in and with us. We need the massive diversity in order to create a balance as those bacteria not only talk to us, they also talk to each other to create a healthy body in which they can live happily.

Of course, it gets more complicated than that, as when the balance is missing, some of the good bacteria can become bad bacteria. We also need some of the bad bacteria so the good bacteria can flex their muscles and keep up the practice of fighting bad bacteria.

People who consult me know I spend a lot of time talking about your physical health and the specific way I get you to eat to promote your good gut bacteria. We look at the constituency of your gut bacteria and your blood to find out what your state of health and the health of your gut may be. Simply taking an off-the-shelf probiotic from the supermarket or health food store may not be enough to restore a dysregulated gut.

As a naturopath I look very carefully at the function of your digestive system and liver, not only to restore health when it is missing but also to promote extraordinary health because, after all, that really is the point of life: to be healthy and happy.

Book your naturopathy consultation with me at my Sydney clinic by calling 02 8021 6429.



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