The gut is the brain of your body, including your actual brain.
Gut microbes are the bacteria (flora) in the gut (mainly large intestines). Your gut microbes, whether you know it or not, control everything. There is a gut-brain connection (gut-brain axis). It controls everything from your mental health (extra resources 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) and mood (extra resource 1)to your overall physical health. I’ll go as far as to say it has a lot to do with weight (extra resource 1) as well.
When babies are born, they get the first dose of their microflora through the birth canal. Those born by cesarian section (c-section), lose out on the first start of beneficial bacteria.
Babies, regardless of type of birth type(c-section or natural), are given antibiotics directly (as eyedrops) after their born to prevent gonorrhea, which is no longer an issue for most of the western world. This can wipe out the beneficial bacteria received from the birth canal.
To add to our first dose of microflora, we continue to get the bacteria we need through breast milk. If the baby is fed formula, it misses out on the additional flora.
If you have too many (good or bad) where it spills over excessively into the small intestines, it’s called Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO). (My SIBO was caused by having fructose malabsorption and LOW stomach acid.)
SIBO has been shown to negatively affect both the structure and function of the small bowel. It may significantly interfere with digestion of food and absorption of nutrients, primarily by damaging the cells lining the small bowel (the mucosa). Additionally, this damage to the small bowel mucosa can lead to leaky gut (when the intestinal barrier becomes permeable, allowing large protein molecules to escape into the bloodstream), which is known to have a number of potential complications including immune reactions that cause food allergies or sensitivities, generalized inflammation, and autoimmune diseases. – SIBO – What causes it and why it’s so hard to treat
When you have an bad balance of gut microbes, it’s called dysbiosis. When your gut controls everything in your body, that’s a big problem. To add to it, your immune system is 70% in your gut. Your immune system drives your inflammatory response. Your inflammatory response are proteins called cytokines. When these proteins get riled up, you have chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation can cause weight gain, fatigue, autoimmune conditions, etc. It all comes back to the gut, even though a lot of people don’t link them together.
I’ve already stated I believe microflora has more to do with weight than ‘calories in vs calories out’. People who undergo gastric bypass (high risk operation) will lose weight, but not because why most people assume. It is actually more to do with their gut microbes (extra resources 1, 2).
How do we correct dysbiosis?
I’m still working on that part, as are a lot of people. Many groups/people recommend taking probiotics. Probiotics may help, but there are many strains of intestinal bacteria not even found yet. I think a fecal transplant, as strange as that does sound, is a high probability.
Clostridium difficile (C-Diff) is a life-threatening illness caused by bacteria. Antibiotics are often prescribed and have a low success rate. Surgery is also prescribed to remove the infected area. These routes do not always work and people have died due to them, or their doctors, not wanting to perform a fecal transplant. It does have risks, but as shown, so do antibiotics. To loop it back, a woman in England received a fecal transplant for c-diff from her overweight daughter and gained 36 pounds in one year. This tells me, again, gut microbes have more to do with weight than the flawed ‘calories in vs. calories out’.
I think dysbiosis causes intestinal permeability (leaky gut), which was mentioned in a few of the sources, and both of these are my main obstacle in my quest for better health. It’s not as easy as cutting out grains and sugars. I’ve done that. I drink organic, homemade bone broth. Nothing has fully recovered me yet, even though I have gotten better, but I believe the key is in the gut.