All Diseases Begin in the Gut
Hippocrates 460-370 BC
A plethora of microorganisms cohabit with human beings in every part of our bodies. They carry out all sorts of functions vital to our digestion and immunity, and without them we would not survive. A healthy human being carries 3-4 pounds of microorganisms in their digestive tracts, both friendly and unfriendly. The friendly organisms carry out multiple varied and vital functions, which are integral to our health and well-being. In a robust individual the unfriendly microorganisms are kept in check by the friendly flora, and do not cause illness. In an adult or an older child the balance can be disrupted by antibiotic treatment, steroids, birth control pills, multiple pregnancies, stress, diets high in refined and processed foods, or environmental toxins, illness from the consequences of the imbalance result. (dysbiosis) For many individuals in our culture, these stresses which undermine our health are quite common place. How many of us in this culture have not had multiple course of antibiotics?
Babies in the womb have a sterile gut. They inherit parental flora when they pass through the birth canal and swallow the mother’s microflora. If she or the baby’s father have imbalanced gut flora, that is what populates the baby’s gut. Many conditions thought to be genetic, may in fact be inherited dysbiotic gut flora.
When the balance between friendly and unfriendly microflora is disrupted, unfriendly microorganisms proliferate, which can damage the integrity of the intestinal wall. The intestinal wall becomes permeable, allowing substances which should remain inside the intestine to pass into the bloodstream. This “leaky gut” permits microorganisms, such as Candida albicans, to colonize multiple tissues in the body, with serious medical and psychiatric consequences. In addition, when the natural barriers of the intestinal wall have been breached, molecules of food particles diffuse into the blood stream forming immune complexes, resulting in a chronic over-stimulation of the immune system. The resulting chronic inflammation of the body and the brain causes illness, both psychiatric and medical. It is at the heart of many auto-immune disorders, food sensitivities and intolerances, irritable bowel syndrome, genito-urinary disorders, neurological and skin conditions.
There are many psychiatric manifestations of imbalanced microflora, including depression, mood swings, irritability, anxiety, insomnia, attentional and memory problems, learning disabilities, dyslexia, dyspraxia, autism, psychotic disorders, chronic fatigue, and PMS, to name a few.This is not to mention the myriad of auto-immune conditions that are related to dysbiosis.
Treatment of these conditions is effected through the restoration of the balance of microorganisms in the body, which allows the gut to “heal and seal”. This is accomplished though a specific nutritious diet that supports the proliferation of the friendly bacteria, supplementation with fermented foods and probiotics, and detoxification. Many people no longer need prescription medication for psychiatric conditions, once the balance of their micro flora is restored. In addition they feel healthier, have more energy and clarity, and feel better than ever before.