Widely underestimated has been the importance of God’s wisdom in creating a critically health-enhancing eco-system that has existed harmoniously in our bodies for millennia – until we interfered with it! Now we desperately need insight and understanding into how this eco-system works in relation to our physical and mental/emotional health – and the dreadful consequences of the disruption of it.
Collectively, the microbes inside everyone make up the “microbiome” — what microbiologist Martin Blaser of the NYU School of Medicine defines as “all the organisms that call us home, that live in us and that interact with each other and with ourselves.”
The cells of the human body are outnumbered ten times by the coexisting microbial numbers. The microbiome represents the total genetic information of the microbial community as a whole, comprising bacteria, fungi, protozoa and viruses inhabiting the human ecological environment. The microbiome carries 200 times the number of genes compared to the human genome.
The enormous microbiological diversity of the gut ecosystem is reflected by an estimated 1,500 bacterial species, with a wide range of physiological properties and metabolic pathways. Research has shown that these microbes communicate with the host to maintain a healthy balance – until, that is, we upset that critical balance. These organisms have evolved with humans for hundreds of thousands of years.
As we probe deeper into the microbiome and their varied roles in the human body, we’re gaining valuable insight into their essential roles. Microbes keep your vital organs, such as your brain, digestive system, and immune system, working properly. They play a vital role in disease prevention, wound healing, gut lining protection, appetite control, brain development, and even your emotions. Your digestive tract alone, including your small and large intestine, houses about 99% of your entire microbiome.
Role of beneficial microbes
The gut is inhabited by millions of bacteria and fungi (yeasts) – some beneficial – some harmful. Some of them help to digest carbohydrates; others assist in the digestion of protein; others help digest fats. There are beneficial bacteria for fibre, for milk – and yet others for all six forms of sugar.
These intestinal allies consume undigested food before it begins to putrefy in the gut. As they digest this residue, they turn it into valuable nutrients – B vitamins for example – and release them for the benefit of the health of the body and the brain. They even turn unpleasant odours from nitrogen, sulphur and phosphorus gasses into beneficial gasses, needed for the vital chemical processes of the body.
Beneficial intestinal bacteria destroy harmful bacteria, viruses and fungi. They play a role in assisting blood cell production in the bone marrow. They synthesise vitamin K. They create valuable enzymes. They produce anti-oxidants that protect the body against cancer, premature ageing and a host of other unwelcome conditions.
Given the right conditions, helpful bacteria keep harmful bacteria and fungi in check by crowding them out and competing for space in the gut. They lower the pH balance of the gut, creating a benign and healthy intestinal eco-system which inhibits the growth of pathogens.
Disease begins in the gut
There is an old saying “disease begins in the gut‘. The critical truth of this is becoming more and more apparent as modern research reveals the insidious damage we have unwittingly done to our own health and especially to our children’s health.
Nowadays the microbiome has become a ‘hot’ subject of vital scientific research – revealing the dreadful consequences of our modern drugs and diet on our internal eco-system. Dysbiosis (“microbial imbalance or impaired microbiota”), is considered to be a major factor in many diseases ranging from autism to asthma, acne to autoimmune disease, arthritis to Alzheimer’s, fibromyalgia, to chronic fatigue, ME and MS to dementia and many, many more physical and mental conditions.
So let’s go back a little to look at what has undermined our health and immunity to the point where we need so many antibiotics. Long before the microbiome was understood, pioneer nutritionists recognised a condition which they called intestinal toxaemia. It’s what we now call dysbiosis and it’s where our modern plague of disturbing disorders began – even before antibiotics made the problem much, much worse.
Heavenly Father, scientific research is revealing more and more about how “fearfully and wonderfully“ you made the human body. We are beginning to understand more about the millions of micro-organisms that inhabit the gut and contribute, not only to our physical health but to our emotional health.
Lord we confess that we have underestimated and undervalued your wisdom and provision for our well-being. For the sake of our children and grandchildren, we pray that you will give insight into the consequences of this – and understanding about how to rebuild health – and strengthen immunity naturally.
An over-supply of sugar and refined carbohydrates and a lack of dietary fibre, has a direct effect on the bacterial population of the gut (the microbiome). Scientific research is linking this with the ever-increasing incidence of food intolerance, eczema, asthma, auto-immune conditions, attention-deficit disorders, autism, behavioural problems and many more.