Jul 19 2015

More Diversity is Key to Healthy Gut Microbiota

Published by at 11:36 am under probiotic supplements

When it comes to our gut microbiota, diversity is key.
“Americans digestive tracts look like barren deserts compared with the lush tropical rain forest found in indigenous people…”1

 

There has been a massive change to our collective microbiome and it could very possibly be making us sick. This is the idea behind two studies which take a look into our ancestors’ microbiomes, and how, over the years, we as a society, have wiped out a few dozen species from our digestive tracts. Over the years, as a result of diet, antibiotics, our obsession with cleanliness and an increase in C-sections which results in babies missing that vital, first exposure to their mother’s microbiome as they pass through the birth canal, we have decreased the number of microbiota in our guts. 1,2*

 

Microbiologist M. Gloria Dominguez-Bello from the New York University School of Medicine and her colleagues were the first to characterize the gut bacteria of people completely isolated from modern medicine, food and culture.1* “…In 2009, her colleagues and a medical team with the Venezuelan government took a helicopter to a remote area on the border of Venezuela and Brazil, home to the Yanomami tribe. Members of the tribe have lived as hunter-gatherers for more than 11,000 years in a mountainous area of the Amazon rain forest…”1*

 

Fecal samples were taken from 12 of the villagers and brought back to New York City for DNA analysis to determine which microbial species thrived in their guts. They found this tribe had approximately 50% more ecological diversity than the average American. 1*

 

They determined that as cultures around the world become more “westernized” they are losing important gut bacteria species. One of the microbes gone missing from humans today is the one that metabolizes carbohydrates. Others that are missing are those that act as prebiotics. Another communicates with our immune system. As a result, there seems to be higher incidences of chronic illnesses directly related to the immune system such as allergies, crohn’s disease, auto immune disorders and multiple sclerosis. 1,2*

 

“…It is not clear if more diversity in the gut microbiome is healthier. Buy maybe we have lost species with important functions…” according to Dominguez-Bello. She determined that “…clearly diet plays a role in determining which critters hang out in our digestive tracts. The Yanomami tribe don’t sit down and eat big meals, three times a day, like we do…” They eat a little bit all day long. They just grab a banana when they want. Or go eat some fish soup with plantains…”1 And they have never been exposed to antibiotics.1

 

This study may shed light on why there has been an increase in diseases in western society compared to less developed countries and earlier generations, especially the people of the hunter-gatherer era. We have lost key gut microbes which teach our immune system important defense functions. According to the National Center for Microbiology Information (NCBI) website, “…As the volume of data relating to the composition and functional potential of the gut microbiota increases, the number of diseases that have been linked with alterations in our gut microbial community has also expanded…”3

 

So what to do? Modern medicine, antibiotics and cleanliness have saved many lives. We’ve given up a more diverse microbiome but we have gained a longer life expectancy as a result of this modern medicine, as opposed to developing countries. But it doesn’t make a diverse microbiome any less important. We can increase the number of friendly bacteria in our guts by eating raw organic vegetables and fruits. Eating prebiotic rich foods as in high fiber diets as we discussed in last week’s blog, drinking clean water and avoiding antibiotics unless absolutely necessary. Additionally, supplementing with BODY BIOTICS™ BIO-IDENTICAL SBO PROBIOTICS CONSORTIA™, which supplies us with the soil borne organisms that are so vital to our gut health and our overall health and well-being.*

Healthiest wishes,

Kelli

 

 

Resources:

  1. http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2015/04/21/400393756/how-modern-life-depletes-our-gut-microbes?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=health
  2. http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2013/11/18/244526773/gut-bacteria-might-guide-the-workings-of-our-minds
  3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3667473/


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