The answers to some very big questions about your health could lie within a very tiny ecosystem in your gut. The microbiome – often referred to as the body’s “forgotten organ” – consists of a collection of tiny bacteria that have an immense impact on a number of health conditions like, chronic inflammation, cancer and heart disease. Keeping your microbiome in balance, a need often ignored by conventional medicine, plays a critical role in maintaining your health.
The human body plays host to trillions of microbes that all play a fundamental role in many life processes. Scientists are beginning to learn that the collection of microbes that constitute the human microbiome are not random and are likely set up to complement each other and the human host, as described in a report from the American Academy of Microbiology.[PDF]
The microbiome: How gut health influences our bodies
As you can image, given the profound influence of gut microbes over body physiology, an inner gut ecology that is out of balance can have deleterious consequences.
Autism spectrum disorders, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, ADHD, other behavior and mood disorders, migraine headaches, arthritis, cardiovascular disease, cancer, asthma, allergy, diabetes, diseases of the liver, metabolic syndrome, obesity, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and other autoimmune disorders, and dozens of intestinal disorders such as the irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) have all been associated with an imbalanced microbiome.
The collective prevalence of these disorders is legion and gut microbial imbalances have been linked to virtually all of the chronic diseases.
How did we get to this state of epidemic gut dysfunction?
There are several pathways to gut pathology but the two most profound disruptors of gut ecological health that are plaguing this nation are antibiotics and the standard diet which is loaded with highly refined inflammatory foods.
Digestive symptoms associated with imbalanced gut bacteria:
You may be able to reduce your risk of disease and make living a healthier lifestyle a bit easier if you can get your bacteria balance back on track. But, how can you tell if your gut bacteria is off? A few signs to look for include:
- Excess intestinal gas
- Too little or no intestinal gas
- Chronic diarrhea
- Chronic bad breath
Other symptoms of gut flora imbalance may include:
- Hormonal problems
- Menstrual complaints
- Prostate trouble
- Breast enlargement in men
- Need for sexual hormone medication
- Candidainfection (candidiasis)
- Chronic anemia
- Chronic respiratory problems
- Dairy product allergies and intolerances
- Vitamin B deficiencies
- High cholesterollevels
- Neurological problems
- Severe bruising problems
- Chronic vaginal infections
- Chronic bladder infections
Besides symptoms, another good indicator of your bowel health is the pH of your stool. The pH scale measures how acidic or how alkaline something is. The pH of your stool should be slightly acidic.
If you suffer from any of these health problems, try taking steps to restore the good bacteria in your gut.
An integrative approach to healing the gut
There are important steps that must be taken to combat these ill health effects. A functional holistic approach can help to heal the gut, ridding it of unhealthy bacteria by avoiding foods that disrupts the microbiome. The most effective way to heal the gut is to educate yourself about the ‘hidden’ dangers within our food supply. Just because a food item has been “approved” for consumption – doesn’t make it safe. Thus, first, begin by removing the gut disrupting agents such as highly refined junk foods, excess sweeteners (even artificial sweeteners), and antibiotics unless they are absolutely medically indicated. Once this is done, you can slowly start adding prebioitic and probiotic rich foods back to your diet. Then to sustain this newly rebalanced microbiome, you need to shift to a way of eating that will maintain it for life. Traditional diets like the Mediteranean and Baltic Sea diets provide a good model for how to do this.
After doing your own research about the importance of a balance microbiome for your health, we recommend you to check and this.