The microbiome refers to all the bacteria, viruses, and fungi that live in or on your body – over 100 trillion microbes, plus their genes. More than 1 billion bacteria in just one drop of fluid in your colon alone. Your unique microbial footprint develops over your lifetime, and it reflects everything about you: your parents’ health, how and where you were born, what you’ve eaten (including whether your first sips were breast milk or formula), where you’ve lived, your occupation, personal hygiene, past infections, exposure to chemicals and toxins, medications, hormone levels.
What most people don’t realize is that gastrointestinal (GI) dysfunction or digestive problems can be the underlying issue for many seemingly unrelated problems–that is, conditions where the symptoms are not localized to the GI tract. Some skin conditions such as eczema, certain types of arthritis, some types of autoimmune diseases, migraine headaches, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and many non-specific symptoms may have their root cause in digestive problems. This section will have blogs related to digestion and keeping the GI system functioning optimally.
We are now learning that differences in the various species of bacteria that live within the intestines actually have a profound role in regulating metabolism. For example, researchers have demonstrated that when fecal material (rich in intestinal bacteria) from an obese human is transplanted into the colon of a normal laboratory rat, the animal will gain significant amounts of weight even though its diet remains unchanged.
Today our featured guest is my friend Dr. Gerry Mullin, integrative gastroenterologist from John’s Hopkins and author of the exciting new book The Gut Balance Revolution. I recently sat down and chatted with Gerry about his new book—specifically about one of my favorite subjects, the profound influence of our gut microbes in health and weight loss. Here is what he had to say.
I was recently asked to give a short, 10 minute answer to the following question question: “What’s the #1 thing you recommend people do right now to maximize their health and wellness?”
This was part of a very special interview series with 26 of the world’s leading health experts and doctors, each giving their perspective in 10 minutes or less called. The interview series is call 10 Minute Wellness Tips (which you can get for free).
For centuries the digestive system has been regarded by Eastern medical systems such as Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine and in more modern times Naturopathy and Functional Medicine as the foundation of health and vitality. Many of the body’s ills begin as imbalances in gut homeostasis and the road to recovery is by restoring harmony and equilibrium to the digestive tract.
Despite these healing traditions rich in wisdom, the gut has been trivialized by modern Western medicine as merely a food processing plant and conduit for waste removal.
When proton pump inhibiters (PPIs) first came out they were thought of as a miracle cure for those suffering with gastroesphogeal reflux disease (GERD), dyspepsia, and a host of conditions exacerbated by the over-production of gastric acid. And by inhibiting its secretion, PPIs certainly got the job done.
Struggling to lose weight? Here are 6 things you may not be considering.
Inside your belly is a thriving bacterial world, an eco-system commonly known as the ‘microbiome.’ It’s filled with bacteria – trillions of them, in fact – all going about their daily business of keeping you well. Without you’re being aware of it, they’re busily breaking down food; extracting nutrients; producing vitamins and brain chemicals; fending off microbial invaders; protecting you from disease; and performing hundreds of tasks essential to keeping your systems functioning optimally.
When I first learned about mindful eating, I was a bit intimidated – being someone who loved to eat and typically ravaged my meals, I was a little scared of actually sitting down with my food and taking my time to eat it. But as I began incorporating small steps like chewing and deep breathing, my relationship with food quickly began to change. Not only was I choosing whole, healthy foods, but I was actually learning HOW I should be eating them, which helped me create an awareness that allowed me to tune into the needs of my body and listen to which foods and portion sizes made me feel best.
One of the most common complaints we hear from patients on a paleo diet is an increase in constipation. Regular elimination is critical for gut health, no matter what diet you follow. This common side effect of the paleo diet can be combated with a few simple strategies.