"We can carry up to 2 kg of microbes in our gut. Within the tens of trillions of micro-organisms that live there, are at least 1000 species of bacteria consisting of over 3 million genes. What's more, two thirds of the gut microbiome - the population of microbes in the intestine - is unique to each individual". Whitman, H.
The Colon is a 1.5 metre long tube of dense muscular ingenuity. It's the primary site of hormone excretion, Vitamin K production; a Bacterial hub crucial to immune activation and development, and the site of neuropeptide production for the regulation of our neurochemistry, emotions and mood. Which is fascinating right?
So how can it be that most of us are walking around with a constipated, bloated, painful GUT?
Acid reflux and inflammatory bowel disorders are commonplace amid our hurried and stressed western society. Statistically in-line with the increase in various mental health and anxiety disorders. The GUT has evolved from an incredibly robust ancestory though it appears that we've gone 'soft' on the evolution path.
The micro-biome is an entire eco-system, unique to you. The way we live, what we eat, how we feel, our prescriptions, the booze we drink, our un-ending stress and genetics affects the delicate balance of bacteria in our bowel and as science is finding out - the future health of our species.
There’s no escaping it!
There are trillions of beneficial immune-stimulating bacteria taking up residence in your bowel. Many of these contain genes that may be harmful to your health, such as Studies by *Epidemiologists propose that we carry the same bacteria of our predecessors....
Wait, say what? Yep. You most likely carry the same bacterial DNA as the family members who came hundreds of years before you. We now know that the GUT Microbiota is responsible for DNA production, genetic synthesis and neurological health.
Our bowel moves (poop) by a motion called peristalsis - a process triggered by a highly tuned signalling system between the brain (stem) and colon receptors. It's a complex HWY and exactly why STRESS can be a massive factor in the relationship between GUT + MOOD + BRAIN. The large colon is muscular, and like any muscle in the body it needs a healthy amount of activity and movement to function properly but our Modern-day sedentary, couch surfing, chair sitting, office working lifestyle has had catastrophic consequences to our GUT, bowel function and health. [side note: think of all the couch-ridden hours spent by children on play-stations, Xbox and technology].
Needless to say, regular movement and exercise can be a powerful and inexpensive way to improve the tone and function of your bowel by supporting peristalsis.
Dysbiosis is a term used to describe the imbalance of healthy bacteria Vs microbial overgrowth in your colon. It might sound precocious but left untreated dysbiosis can lead to chronic health conditions including Auto-Immune Disease, IBS, Crohn’s, Thrush, Diverticulitis, Allergies, Acne, Arthritis, Headaches, Depression and many more.
*Epidemiology is the branch of medicine which deals with the incidence, distribution, and possible control of diseases and other factors relating to health.