In fact they outnumber you ten to one and ninety percent of the genetic material, (DNA and RNA) in your body is not yours, it belongs to the bacteria that is located mostly in your gut, but some also live on your skin and even in your nose.
Exactly what those different life forms do has been the subject of some exciting research in recent years, and while a few of these organisms can sometimes wreak havoc with your system, the majority of these little “bugs” are good, helping you digest your food, stay protected from infections, and even keeping your immune system properly regulated to fend off autoimmune diseases like asthma, allergies, and diabetes.
The community of microbes living on and in your body is unique to you – like your fingerprints – and is now being regarded as a key contributor to your overall health.
More and more, science is finding that teeny tiny creatures living in your gut are there for a definite purpose. Known as your microbiome, about 100 trillion of these cells populate your body, particularly your intestines and other parts of your digestive system.
Although some of these bacteria can make you sick, the majority are good, and they work together as to aid your digestive system and keep you well. Beneficial bacteria, better known as probiotics, along with a host of other microorganisms, are so crucial to your health that researchers have compared them to “a newly recognized organ.” We now know that your microflora influence your:
- Immune system function
- Brain development, mental health, and memory
- Genetic expression
- Risk of diseases, including autoimmune disease, cancer, diabetes, and autism
According to the featured article in Time Magazine:
“Our surprisingly complex internal ecology has been a hot topic in medicine lately. Initiatives such as the Human Microbiome Project, an extension of the Human Genome Project, have been working tirelessly to probe potential links between the human microbiota and human health, and to construct strategies for manipulating the bacteria so that they work with us rather than against us.
…They’ve been linked to a range of nasty conditions, including obesity, arthritis, and high cholesterol. Now, two newer areas of research are pushing the field even further, looking at the possible gut bug link to a pair of very different conditions: autism and irritable bowel disease.”
Most people, including many physicians, do not realize that 80 percent of your immune system is located in your digestive tract, making a healthy gut a major focal point in your efforts to achieve optimal health. In fact, the root of many health problems is related to an imbalance of intestinal bacteria.
The beneficial bacteria in your gut has actually been found to help prevent allergies by training your immune system to distinguish between pathogens and non-harmful antigens and respond appropriately – and this may be one reason why they also appear so beneficial in conditions like allergies, asthma, and eczema
Like it or not, the bugs in your gut have a lot to say about your health! This is why I frequently test patients gut function for common complaints such as fatigue, migraines, mood disorders, depression, anxiety or insomnia, ecezma, allergies, asthma, autism, and even trouble with concentration & memory. Getting the gut bugs back into proper balance is critical to your overall health and especially the health of your immune system. The simplest way to jump start your overall health is pay attention to the gut… Eliminate sugar and refined flours from your diet and add a high dose probiotic to you regimen. You’ll be well on your way to a happy and helpful intestinal “zoo”!