Bacteria to the Rescue

“Germs are bad. They do nothing but wreak havoc on otherwise healthy systems and should therefore be avoided at all costs.” That’s the story many of us were told throughout our childhood. While there is some truth to this, it is important to understand that not all germs, specifically bacteria, are bad for you. Some actually do more for your body than you realize and their absence can have a less than desirable impact on your health. 

Wait, bacteria are actually beneficial for our health? Yes. As a matter of fact, they are crucial, especially when it comes to your gut microbiome. 

What is the gut microbiome?

Microbiome by definition refers to bacteria that exist symbiotically in our bodies and offer benefits to us as the hosts. Think of your body as the house and the bacteria as lovely tenants who tend the garden and help keep the house in great condition. The gut microbiome in particular refers to the bacteria that reside in your gut. A majority of them are found in the intestines and they have a significant impact on many of the body’s functions including the following… 

  • Aid in digestion: These friendly bacteria help to break down the food that you consume. This happens mainly in the final stages of digestion before the food is absorbed for use.
  • Generate important compounds: Some bacteria play a role in synthesis of compounds required in the body. One of these is vitamin K which plays a major role in clotting during injuries. The bacteria have also been suggested to contribute in production of other endogenous vitamins including a few in the B series.
  • Supports the Gut Barrier: The gut barrier is a single layer of cells in your GI tract that stretches from food intake to exit. This works directly with the gut microbiome to form a barrier that prevents substances from escaping the intestine and getting into the bloodstream. This ever-important barrier is also selectively sponge-like or permeable as well, making it kind of like a bouncer at a club. It selectively allows certain things like electrolytes, water, and nutrients in and keeps other things like unwanted microbes, toxins, and antigens out.
  • Prevent overgrowth of harmful pathogens: Good bacteria and bad bacteria in your gut are constantly fighting for resources. When you have a healthy population of good bacteria they keep the bad guys in check thus helping to prevent the overgrowth of harmful pathogens. 

The microbiome actually has a significant impact on complete wellness affecting things like your mood, your immune system, your skin and much more. At first glance, it seems a bit strange. How can the bacteria that reside in your gut have such an impact? 

  • Immune system: Over 70% of your body’s immune cells are found in your gut. From birth, your immune system and gut microbiome are communicating with one another. As we move through life the immune system and gut microbiome actually help to develop and shape one another. Without getting too technical, this communication between the two supports healthy protective responses within the body. 
  • Skin health: The skin and the gut are two of the body’s great lines of defence and it just so happens that they are strongly connected. As a matter of fact, the gut and skin are connected by bacteria and bacterial byproducts. What does this mean? Well, what happens in your belly has a way of  showing up on the skin’s surface. 
  • Mental health: The gut and the brain are directly connected. This connection begins during human embryonic development when the nervous system and gastrointestinal system develop almost simultaneously. In fact, the nervous system is “hardwired” into the gut by the enteric nervous system (ENS). The gut-brain axis or ENS is connected physically by some 500 million neurons in the gut. And, a number of neurotransmitters, and other substances, are produced by certain species of the gut microbiome. Without getting into too many of the complex details, what happens in the gut affects your mind and vice versa. 
  • Weight Management: When it comes to the health of the gut microbiome, we are looking for both richness and diversity, in other words, a large community of diverse bacteria. And, when things get out of whack, it can affect both your health and your ability to lose weight.

Your gut, it’s your center and your core when it comes to maintaining good health. With that, your gut microbiome plays a significant role in more than just digestion, it helps to control your overall well being. So, how can we support such a significant system? The answer lies in daily habits. 

  • Ditch the fake foods (chips, candy, ice cream…) that wreak havoc on your gut microbiome and focus on consuming a diet rich in whole foods like legumes, nuts, seeds, fruits, veggies, meat and so on. 
  • Utilize digestive enzymes. Supplement with digestive enzymes daily. Enzymes help us break down and assimilate the foods we eat. 
  • Build friendly bacteria with probiotics. These friendly bacteria help keep us healthy in more ways than one. 
  • Hydrate with high-quality H20. Just as you shower each day to rinse off the dirt (waste), adequate hydration helps your gut eliminate waste. Shoot for at least half of your body weight in ounces per day, our bodies depend on quality hydration. (So, if you weigh 150 lbs, then shoot for 75 ounces of water per day.) 
  • Exercise. Studies show that exercise actually adjusts the balance of our ever important gut microbiome. These studies are finding that exercise can enhance the microbiome and microflora diversity and improve the development of the bacteria found in the mouth, also known as commensal bacteria. 
  • Manage Stress. We all know that stress wreaks havoc on the gut. Take a few minutes each day to meditate and let the stresses of the day go. 
  • Boost nutrient intake. Have you ever heard of organic Wild Microalgae®? It’s a rare type of blue-green algae that contains an extraordinary nutrient profile. In fact, it’s a near-perfect food filled with all 20 standard amino acids, essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, phenylethylamine (PEA), and antioxidant pigments phycocyanin and chlorophyll. 

Live the #NewEarthLife Taking steps each day to better your health and live your best life, it’s what we call living the #NewEarthLife. It all starts in the ever important gut. Interested in some additional support and joining a community of people on a similar journey to better gut health and overall health? Join us in our next 30 Day Gut Reboot.