How Gut Microbes has the Power to Heal and Protect Your Brain!
Do you know a troubled tummy could lead to obesity, autism spectrum disorders, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer diseases? Let’s find out…..
Your gut microbes can have a considerable impact on the size of your waistline
Two groups of bacteria are accountable for some 90 percent of your gut’s microbiome — firmicutes and bacteroidetes.
Firmicutes are expert at extracting energy from the food you eat, which means that they help you consume more calories. In contrast, bacteroidetes aren’t so much involved with calorie extraction but work to break down plant fibers and starches.
If you have more firmicutes than bacteroidetes, you can suffer from increased inflammation and potentially from obesity.
Your microbes not only help to keep you slim (or fat) but also help support your liver. Many foods contain environmental toxins; it’s the liver’s job to get rid of these once in your body.
Yet a healthy gut can also support the liver in its work, which is why the gut is often called the body’s “second liver.”
Gut microbes help to neutralize toxins that reach the intestines, acting as a first line of defense. In doing so, the microbes take a bit of pressure off the liver, keeping it healthier!
The body’s inflammatory response protects you, but it can go haywire and cause damage, too
The body’s inflammatory response is there to support the immune system and help it fight infection or injury.
But when this response persists without reason, it can lead to a wide range of illnesses such as diabetes, cancer, asthma, arthritis or even multiple sclerosis.
Some genes can contribute to excessive inflammation; yet for this to happen, these genes need to be “switched on.” Thankfully there are things that you can do, such as getting enough sleep and eating healthily, that will keep these bad genes quiet while kicking into gear the more helpful genes.
Too much blood sugar can also increase inflammation in the body, as high blood sugar levels can be toxic if your cells aren’t able to process it. This situation can lead to glycation, a state in which sugar binds to proteins or fats, which causes a buildup of advanced glycation end products (AGEs). And AGEs trigger inflammation.
If your gut and its microbiome aren’t in tip-top shape, your brain might be in trouble, too
As a means of defense, the gut has a protective layer of cells that are responsible not only for absorbing nutrients but also for blocking harmful bacteria.
If this cell layer becomes compromised, the gut’s defenses are weakened and potentially harmful bacteria could wreak havoc in your body. Having an inflamed, “leaky” gut can thus lead to other, more serious illnesses.
Inflamed, leaky gut can potentially lead to a so-called leaky brain. This rather horrifying idea means that the brain, previously believed to be securely protected by the blood-brain barrier, can actually be exposed to harmful bacteria from the body, too.
If bad bugs get into your brain, this can lead to brain inflammation. And when your brain suffers from inflammation, a lot of damage can be done before you even realise!
Why? The brain doesn’t have its own pain receptors; so unlike an inflammation of the skin (which you can see and feel), an inflammation of the brain is a silent sufferer.
Yet brain inflammation is serious business. This symptom can lead to illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease or other severe neurological diseases, such as Parkinson’s and depression.
The development of autism spectrum disorder is believed to be strongly influenced by gut bacteria.
In the case of ASD, a similar situation may be at play. If brain inflammation exists during childhood, this might disrupt brain development, potentially resulting in ASD.
Studies have found that many people with ASD possess a particular composition of gut bacteria that is typically linked to a heightened inflammatory response in the body.
Jason, diagnosed with ASD, was given multiple courses of antibiotics as a baby, which may have compromised his natural gut microbiome. When Jason was 10 years old, doctors did a stool analysis and found that he had almost no beneficial lactobacillus bacteria in his gut.
Fortunately, the symptoms of autism can be alleviated by healing the gut microbiome.
One treatment method is to give a patient oral probiotics and vitamin supplements, in order to cultivate a healthier gut microbiome.
For Jason, this therapy led to some success. After only three weeks, he showed a decrease in anxiety symptoms. He was even able to tie his own shoes for the first time.
Too much fructose in the Western diet has led to a rash of diet-related diseases
Fructose has the lowest glycemic index (GI) of all the sugars, which means it has no immediate negative effect on blood sugar and insulin levels. Yet studies show that consuming too much fructose is related to insulin resistance — a condition in which the glucose-processing ability of insulin is compromised. This can contribute to diabetes and hypertension.
Consuming a fructose-heavy diet can also stress out your liver (as well as compromise your health overall), as this organ in particular is responsible for metabolizing fructose — primarily into fat.
Another substance that can be harmful to your health is gluten. Gluten is a protein found in grains and grain products; it gives elasticity to dough, for example. And it’s everywhere, in your pizza and pasta, even in your ice cream and cosmetics.
And while only a small percentage of people suffer from celiac disease — gluten intolerance — many more people may have an averse yet often undetected reaction to gluten, known as gluten sensitivity.
Gluten sensitivity can increase the body’s inflammatory response, which as we now know, can lead to a wide range of diseases. If you feel you may have gluten sensitivity, it’s best to avoid it in the foods you eat.
Choosing fermented foods and fasting every season is good for you and your body
What do wine, yogurt, sauerkraut and black tea have in common? They’re all fermented food products.
So what is fermentation? This organic process converts carbohydrates, like sugars, into either alcohol and carbon dioxide or organic acids. For fermentation to happen, either yeast, bacteria, or both are needed.
It’s during fermentation that bacteria produce the valuable vitamin B12, for example. One particularly useful fermentation process is called lactic acid fermentation. Here sugar is converted to lactic acid, which increases the number of beneficial bacteria (often called probiotics) while safeguarding food from harmful bacteria, and spoilage.
An easy way to consume probiotics is by eating unsweetened yogurt, created when milk undergoes lactic acid fermentation.
Probiotic bacteria strains have many health benefits. They help increase the availability of vitamins, reduce inflammation and decrease the level of harmful bacteria in your gut.
And when you eat fermented foods that contain beneficial bacteria, your body can absorb them more readily and thus benefit from them more than when you take probiotic supplements alone.
The practice of fasting can also help boost your health. Fasting was first mentioned in ancient Indian Vedic texts, and people have been exploring the benefits of fasting for over 3,000 years.
There are different ways to fast: you can restrict your caloric intake for a period of time, or you can practise intermittent fasting, for example the 16:8 intermittent fasting, Fasting for 16 hours a day, leaving an eating window of 8 hours.
Health benefits from fasting include increased insulin sensitivity, slowing the aging process and switching the body into fat-burning mode to lose weight.
Fasting also promotes positive changes in gut bacteria. In one study, the restriction of calories encouraged bacterial growth connected to a longer life, while reducing the amount of bacteria associated with a shorter lifespan.
Two natural substances that can work wonders for your health are turmeric and coconut oil
Turmeric is a popular Chinese and Indian seasoning that is often a component of curry powder, giving it a distinctive yellow colour. But it’s more than just a spice — turmeric is chock-full of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities, and can even increase your brain’s cell count.
Importantly, turmeric contains curcumin, an organic compound that can improve glucose metabolism, or the stabilisation of blood sugar in your body.
So if you’re not a huge fan of curry, you might want to consider taking turmeric or curcumin supplements to reap the compounds’ benefits.
Another healthy “super food” is coconut oil. It has powerful anti-inflammatory properties, and is believed to be able to prevent and possibly even heal neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease.