9 crucial reasons to love your bugs
'New leading-edge science coming from the most well-respected institutions around the world is discovering that to an extraordinary degree, brain health... are dictated by what goes on in the gut'.
The research in the book, 'Brain Maker', by Dr David Perlmutter shares compellingly information as to how our gut's bugs may as well be considered an organ in their own right and that they are just as vital to our health as our heart, lungs, liver and brain.
Dr Perlmutter shares that our intestinal flora;
- Aid in digestion and absorption of nutrients. If we don't have the correct balance we may not absorb our nutrients as efficiently.
- Create a physical barrier against potential invaders such as bad bacteria (pathogenic flora), harmful viruses and parasites.
- Act as detoxifiers. Our guts bugs have a role in preventing infections and serving as a line of defense against many toxins. Because they help neutralise many toxins they can be viewed as a second liver. So when our good bacteria is decreased, it can increase the workload of our livers.
- Profoundly influence our immune systems. Bacteria can educate and support the immune system by controlling certain immune cells and preventing autoimmunity.
- Produce and release important enzymes and substances that work with our biology, including vitamins and neurotransmitters.
- Help us handle stress through the flora's effects on our endocrine - hormonal - system.
- Assist us in getting a good nights sleep.
- Help control our bodies inflammatory pathways, which in turn affect the risk for so many chronic diseases.
- New research shows that certain types of gut bacteria actually help the body control blood sugar levels. Blood sugar regulation is priority No. 1 when it comes to preserving brain function and resisting neurological disease.
This broad range of responsibilities, places these guys firmly in charge, and an important cornerstone of our health.
What we need to know;
- Diversity and the ratio of our gut flora is key, good and so called, 'bad', (the subject of a future post).
- Refined sugar and gluten can decimate our good flora
- Exercise positively influences the gut's balance of bacteria
- From the day we are born, the interaction between gut bacteria and our diet can make us vulnerable to metabolic disfunction and brain disease.
- The top disruptors of flora imbalance include, antibiotics, the pill, herbicides, chemicals and other toxins.
However as Dr Perlmutter points out, 'it works both ways'. 'The brain can wield its own sword over the gut as well. This can create a vicious cycle, whereby psychological stress and anxiety can actually increase gut permeability and change the complexion of the gut bacteria, leading to increased leakiness of the gut and further inflammation". And then, the idea that 'our gut's bugs, rather than the brain, can control our response to stress'.
He suggests we can control our metabolism and, in turn, our inflammatory pathways and brain health just by nourishing our microbiome.
6 ways to feed our microbiome and regain microbial balance;
- choose foods rich in probiotics e.g. fermented foods!
- go low carb and embrace high quality fats (check out the food pyramid in my free guides as a great reference).
- enjoy wine, tea, coffee and chocolate! Good quality and in moderation - naturally.
- choose foods rich in prebiotics, i.e. those that feed our flora e.g. acacia gum, chicory root, raw, dandelion greens, garlic, leek, onion or asparagus.
- drink filtered water.
- fast every season.
Importantly, I also recommend adding in;
7. quality sleep.
8. spending time in nature, reconnecting with our natural, biological rhythms.
9. rewiring limiting beliefs with visualisations, affirmations, journaling or a practice of gratitude.
10. moving everyday.
11. developing a spiritual practice e.g. meditation, journalling or that which brings you back to your centre, your sense of
purpose and intuition.
12. swapping cleaning and personal care products for all natural solutions e.g. using essential oils.
And to wrap up this is a quote from the book by Dr David Topping, Chief Research Officer at CSIRO here in Australia,
'The interaction between microflora, particularly their products and their substrate (the surface which an organism lives or obtains its nourishment), holds immense potential for the management and prevention of serious diseases, colorectal cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, perhaps even conditions like alzheimer's, autism and parkinson's'.
With a Scientist background and a particular interest in BUGS, this philosophy and approach to our health greatly appeals to me and just makes sense. What are your thoughts and / or experiences?
The information shared here is referenced from the book, 'Brain Maker', by Dr David Perlmutter 2015.
If you want to know how to create a foundation of lasting health in your family, avoiding future chronic, immune, digestive and mental illnesses join me in my online program, 'Our Happy Children', https://www.katebarnes.com.au/our-happy-children/