“All diseases begin in the gut”. It is a quote attributed to the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates nearly 2,500 years ago. And he was absolutely right. Every time we eat or drink or expose ourselves to chemicals and hormones, we are feeding or fighting disease, the body is a smart factory.
We call the millions of microbes that inhabit our bodies, including the gut flora, the Microbiome and you might be surprised to learn that there are 10x more bacterial cells than human cells! In fact, most of your DNA is in your microbiome! Our microbiome generally plays a beneficial role in our bodies, helping us to metabolize and synthesize some important vitamins. They help us break down our food and produce energy from food, they help support your immune system, they produce anti-inflammatory substances and keep the gut lining healthy and our immune system healthy.
We now know that changes in the makeup of our microbiome correlate with many diseases. From diabetes to autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and autoimmune thyroid diseases, we’ve now identified changes in the gut flora that predispose people to these conditions. The common thread in disease processes is a lack of bacterial diversity and a decrease in good bacteria. We get much of our body flora from our mother during birth and while breastfeeding. Today we are beginning to see the impact of caesarean deliveries, early antibiotics in both mother and baby and formula and sanitation on the microbiota of children.
All diseases start in the gut
So what are the factors that affect our microbiome?
- A Diet with enough plant foods, avoiding anti nutrients and preservatives and high fat intake.
- Be aware of a lack of digestive enzymes that prevent food from being digested properly and fermenting.
- Avoid medication such as antibiotics, pain relievers such as paracetamol, antacids, (chemo) drugs, and cortisones and steroids
- The presence of pathogens such as parasites, fungi, pathogenic bacteria and viruses
- The influence of stress such as acute and chronic stress, physical stress, stress due to incorrect nutrition, surgery
- Avoid the chemicals in the environment such as disinfectants, pesticides, cleaning agents such as bleach as much as possible.
What can you do now to support your microbiome?
Don’t eat too much protein. A diet high in protein and low in carbohydrates leads to an increase in bile tolerant microbes and a decrease in Fermicutes, which are important for converting food into energy.
Get enough sleep and exercise. Get the basics right.
Avoid too much sugar. This has a major negative effect on the intestinal flora, whereby the pathogens usually increase and the healthy species decrease.
Support your digestion as one of the foundations of your body’s health is the power of your digestive system. Your digestive secretions such as stomach acid, bile and pancreatic enzymes all support a healthy microbiome and gut. As we age and/or through stress, our digestive system can become weak, so it’s important to support these processes by using herbal medicine. It is an important area that I support in clinical practice to get results.
Signs of poor digestion include bloating, coated tongue, reflux, indigestion, loss of appetite, excessive nasal or throat mucus, fatigue, heaviness in the stomach after eating, nausea, vomiting and loose stools to name a few. to name a few.
Avoid chemicals such as preservatives
Eat unprocessed fresh foods to support a healthy microbiome.
Prevent exposure to pesticides. Do not use them in the house and do not spray Round Up at home. Round Up (glyphosate) has a specific effect on the intestinal flora and inhibits the production of important nutrients such as tryptophan that are necessary for healthy production of serotonin and melatonin. Eat organic foods if you can to avoid pesticides.
Eat a lot of vegetables. Plant fiber and nutrients are essential to support a healthy gut flora.
Take pre- and probiotics. Adding pre- and probiotics can support the gut and intestinal flora. You can take this in the form of supplements or in the form of fermented foods. Read the article here to learn more about fermented foods.
How can an orthomolecular therapist help?
Orthomolecular therapy looks at the biochemical disturbances in the body. An orthomolecular therapist, can map the health of your intestinal wall and your microbiome using an intake form and an EMB blood test. With this type of blood testing we can assess how your intestines are doing. Which disturbances there are and what needs to be tackled. We can also choose the right nutrients to soften the intestinal lining. How to reduce intestinal inflammation and support detoxification. We can also choose the right concentrated micronutrients or supplements to repair the gut lining and improve digestion. This way we help you to create the conditions that support a healthy microbiome. And suggest a diet that suits your gut health, and choose the right diet and lifestyle changes to improve your health.
Naturopathic medicine has long looked at the gut and we are slowly seeing the mainstream catch up with this notion. In any case, they are at the stage where they understand some of the impact of antibiotics. The gut is a really important area that needs to be addressed in most people today. What is your feeling doing?