There’s something important you should know about your gut: it’s not just for digestion. In the past two decades, researchers have uncovered the marvel that is the human digestive system, also called the gut microbiome or the ‘second brain’ because of how the gut communicates with the body. Because the gut is responsible for regulating digestion and elimination, it’s easy to think of the C.I. tract as a separate system. But compartmentalising digestion in this manner isn’t doing us any favours. In fact, it has caused us to overlook how the gut influences the health of the entire body. When we fail to understand how the gut and its communities of beneficial bacteria work in synergy with every bodily system, we fail to understand our health.
THE SUM OF ITS PARTS
Aristotle’s ancient wisdom perfectly describes how the gut works with the body. The philosopher once said, ‘The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.’ This simply means that when you add all of the small parts together, like each individual bacterium found in the digestive system, their combined gut force is more than anything these bacteria could accomplish alone.
And what a powerful digestive force this is. As Jane E. Brody describes in her aptly titled New York Times piece, We Are Our Bacteria, the sum of these parts is greater than we may have imagined. The human body is host to an estimated 100 trillion bacterial cells, which outnumber human cells in the body 10 to one. These bacterial cells account for 99.9 per cent of the unique genes in the body. l
Where do these bacteria come from? In a perfect world, we are born with robust communities of beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract, passed on from mother to baby at birth. But since we live in a largely imperfect world with modern hindrances, millions of babies are born each year with a weakened digestive system lacking the good bacteria needed to defend an infant against the outside world. A University of Puerto Rico study found a direct link between a newborn’s microbial communities in the gut and a mother’s birth method, with the potential to impact a baby’s future health. Babies born via C-section were missing the protective bacteria transmitted in a vaginal birth and may be more susceptible to disease. 2
Sadly, this underdeveloped entry into the world is not at all uncommon. In Europe, an estimated one in four babies are born via C-section in the UK, with numbers creeping as high as 52 per cent in Cyprus and Italy.3 And if a lack of maternal bacteria doesn’t leave a baby at a disadvantage, there are plenty of other factors that can contribute to a decline in gut health — mainly, eating a modern diet of inflammatory, processed foods known to irritate the gut and weaken its natural defence. The gut may be further compromised by environmental toxins and daily stress, along with antibiotic abuse, now considered a modern-day epidemic known to wipe out healthy communities of bacteria with long-term effects on gut health. 4
BACK TO BASICS
No matter how much damage has been done or how weak the digestive system may be after years of less-than-optimal living, it’s still possible to restore healthy levels of friendly bacteria in the gut. You can do this by going back to where it all began — by supporting your gut with soil based probiotics that populated the body in the Garden of Eden. Since the dawn of time, these natural bacteria from the earth were transmitted to the gut when plants covered in soil-based probiotics were eaten directly from the ground. In a published peer reviewed, doubleblind, placebo-controlled clinical trial, a 29-strain soil-based probiotic was found to effectively replenish healthy C.I. microflora, relieve digestive discomfort, promote regular elimination, and support overall good health. 5
Taking a probiotic this powerful has an immediate effect on the body. As you might remember, we established that the gut and its many bacteria are interconnected with all parts of the body. Boosting gut health with friendly bacteria (the more, the better) can help to repair intestinal damage, improve teeth and gum health to protect against the onset of systemic disease, calm inflammatory acne in the skin, and even provide an early treatment option for osteoporosis.6789 A hefty dose of probiotics in the gut provides proven weight loss and neurological benefits. 10,11
It’s comforting to know that bugs in the body aren’t the enemy. On the contrary, an army of probiotics in the gut can be your best ally in the fight against chronic disease. Improving and maintaining your good health can be as simple as taking a daily probiotic. Once the gut receives this invaluable support, all other systems fall into place.
The most powerful and effective probiotic with 29 friendly ‘soil-based’ strains to greater reflect the diversity of your intestines. Includes a prebiotic and backed by a human clinical trial, with a one-year follow-up study.
1. Brody, J. E We Are Our Bacteria. New York Times
2. Dominguez-Bello, M, G.CostelIo, E K,Contreras, M.,Magris M.,Hidalgo, Gfierer, m andKnight, R (2010) Delivery mode shapes the acquisition and structure of the initial microbiota across multiple body habitats in newborns Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 107(26) pp. 11971-5.
3. C-section rates Vary widely’ across Europe. BBC.
4. Jernberg, C, LofmarL S, Edlund C and Jason, J. K (2010) Long-term impacts of antibiotic exposure on the human intestinal microbioto. Microbiology 156:pp. 3216-3223.
5. Clinical Therapeutics (2005) 27 (6) pp. 755-761.
6. Swanson, P. A/ Kumar, Samarjn Sv Kumar, M. u, Kundu K, Murthy, NV Hansen, J.. Nusrat, A and Neish, A S (2011) Enteric commensal bacteria potentiate epithelial restitution via reactive oxygen-species mediated inactivation offocal adhesion kinase phosphatases. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 108 (21)pp. 8803—8808.
7. Chatterjee A,Bhattachatya H.andKandwal, A. (2011) Probiotics in periodontal health and disease. J Indian Soc Periodontol 15 (1) pp. 23—28.
8. Bowe W P and Logan, A. C (2011) Acne vulgaris probiotics and the gut-brain-skin axis – back to the future? Gut Pathog.
9. Natural probioticfor osteoporosis? Building healthy bones takes guts, Michigan State Univetsity
10. Sanchez, tel., Darimont, C, Drapeou, Emady-Azar, S., Lepage m, Rezzonico, E, Ngorn-Brue C, Berger, Phillipe, L, Ammon-Zuffrey, C, Leone, Chevrier, G. St-Amand, E, Marette, A, Doré, J, and Tremblay A (2013) Effect of Lactobacillus rhamnosus CGMCC1.3724 supplementation on weight loss and maintenance in obese men and women. BrJ Nutr.28;111 (8) pp. 1507-19.
11. Lyte, M (2011) Probiotics function mechanistically as delivery vehicles for neuroactjve compounds Microbial Endocrinology in the design and use of probiotics. BioEssays, 33 (8) pp. 574-581.