Our health and well-being depend on the size and diversity of our microbiome. It consists of symbiotic, commensal and pathogen organisms. Each of them is needed and has a unique role to play in our body.
One of the basic tasks of our microbiome is to provide the right barrier between what comes from the outside world (food, viruses and bacteria), and what can safely be absorbed and through blood brought to every cell of our body. Microbiome plays a key role in building the integrity of our intestines.
How to care over gut tightness?
In the last few decades there have been significant changes in the human surroundings, we live differently, we eat differently and we treat each other differently. These changes wreak havoc on our microbiome, resulting in the drying of beneficial microbes (symbiotic) and overgrowth of these harmful (pathogens). This results in disorders in digestion (bloating, diarrhea, malnutrition or obesity) and increasing susceptibility to allergies, intolerance to gluten and irritable bowel disease, celiac disease and many more.
Where do good bacteria come from in our bodies?
The first, but how important, moment of acquiring foundations for a rich and useful bacterial flora is a natural birth. A newborn baby, naturally crossing the birth canal, acquires the composition most suitable for his life-giving bacteria – such as his mother has.
Immediately after birth, the first feeding of the child, breastfeeding should take place. In addition to nutrients, mother’s milk also contains beneficial bacteria that settle the baby’s digestive tract. Importantly, the mother’s milk also contains substances that are food for the intestinal bacteria of the child. We are talking about oligosaccharides, indigestible substances that nature has incorporated into mother’s milk just to nourish the beneficial bacteria found in its digestive system.
Interactions with the environment. Parents probably know what a one-year-old child is doing when he finds an interesting object on the floor, a crumb …? Of course, he puts it in his mouth, to scandalize what is more sensitive to the hygiene of his parents. This is a natural behavior, in this way a small child learns the world and acquires new bacteria.
Some of them will settle in its digestive system and will support the synthesis of nutrients and protect the intestines. Other, less useful, will constantly stimulate his immune system, so that he is in constant readiness in case when the real danger enters the body so that he can overcome them. The final stage of acquiring and enriching our bacterial flora are closer interactions with other people, for example with a life partner.
The essence of our bacterial flora is its constant variability. As our physical development, diet, interaction with the environment and other people, our microbes constantly change and evolve. It is important to support our body along this path, to ensure that what we grow inside contains a balanced amount of symbiotic, commensal and pathogenic organisms.
Dysbiosis of the digestive tract is a situation in which the natural balance between usable organisms and pathogens will be disturbed. Nature does not like nothingness, if in our digestive tract for various reasons lack symbiotic and commensal organisms, immediately their place will be occupied by pathogens, most often yeasts (fungi). This may lead to unsealed intestines and a number of other civilization diseases with allergies at the forefront. With this simple test you can independently estimate the level of Candida fungi (candidiasis) in your body.
In addition, overgrown colonies of yeast need sugar for their survival. His regular supplies are a matter of life or death for them, and therefore they secrete substances that are delivered to the brain through blood, stimulating our appetite for sugar. By wearing a yeast farm we have frequent and sudden hunger pangs for sweets.
Why do most people have disturbed bacterial flora?
Many people are simply enraptured with scientific achievements that make life easier for us. More and more children are born through Caesarean section. This treatment is not currently used as a way to save life, but more and more often as a more convenient form of delivery. Resignation from a natural birth at the very beginning deprives the child of the possibility of settling it with the bacterial flora found in the mother’s birth canal.
By giving up natural feeding in favor of modified milk, we give up giving the newborn baby the bacterial flora found in the mother’s natural food. In addition, the bacterial flora of the newborn can not be optimally developed, because it is not nourished by oligosaccharides found in breast milk.
A child taking various objects to his mouth (sometimes raised straight from the floor) gets to know the world, enriches his bacterial flora and becomes immune to the pathogens he meets. The detergents used in the farm effectively kill the lion’s share of the animals normally living in our environment. If we add too much care for the hygiene of the child, it is everyday baths with soap, frequent washing of hands, not allowing to take objects to the face – we have a recipe for poor bacterial flora of the child and low resistance to pathogens.
Already being an adult, constantly disinfecting hands, we also eliminate both good and bad bacteria from our environment. We prevent good colonization of our digestive system, we do not allow bad stimulation of our immune system.
Long-term consumption of antibiotics, especially those with a broad spectrum of activity, is probably the greatest havoc in our microbiome. Already a five-day treatment with this antibiotic is able to sweep over 1/3 of your bacterial flora. Its rebuilding will take months and sometimes years.
This is all the more frightening when we realize that the vast majority of antibiotic treatments are not necessary. Antibiotics are more and more often prescribed as something just in case, even in situations where the source of infection is a virus on which the antibiotic has no chance to work.
This is evidenced by the research cited in the American journal Pediatrics, according to which pediatricians prescribed antibiotics in 62% of cases, when they saw that parents expected such treatment. At the same time, they administered the antibiotic only in 7% of cases, when the parents were not enthusiasts of antibiotic therapy.
That is why it is so important to be aware of the impact of the abuse of antibiotics on our health and use them wisely. It wisely means only when there is no other option. At the same time, through changes in the diet, take care to minimize the ravages that antibiotics sow in our intestines.
Our good intestinal bacteria for proper functioning and reproduction need food. They are also living organisms and they must eat something. Their favorite food is resistant starch, otherwise known as fiber. Regularly eating foods rich in refractory starch – mainly green vegetables, pods, whole grain cereals provide our intestinal bacteria with adequate food, thanks to which they can reproduce and improve our well-being. The proper balance between bacteria in our digestive system is the basic condition for proper intestinal tightness. As a result, only properly digested substances enter the blood stream, which do not pose a risk of, for example, allergic reactions.
However, the diet of most people living in Western civilizations is the opposite of what our bacteria need. We eat too much meat that does not contain fiber at all. We eat too much sugar, which leads to above-average yeast growth, as well as we eat too much fats, especially zoonoses.
In addition, we have fallen in love with highly processed products, based on a depleted version of food (eg, purified flour) enriched with artificial colors, preservatives and flavor enhancers.
Such food does not nourish our beneficial intestinal bacteria, at the same time it is quite well tolerated by the pathogenic organisms living in us (eg yeasts). All this leads to a natural imbalance between the organisms living in us and, for example, dysbiosis.
Probiotic, prebiotic and symbiotic – what’s going on?
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria and other organisms that naturally inhabit our body. Additionally, they are found in food products subjected to natural fermentation based on lactic acid – in silage. You can also take them in the form of supplements, capsules usually stored in refrigeration.
Prebiotic is food for our intestinal bacteria, thanks to which our probiotics have optimal conditions for development. Our bacteria most like the already mentioned resistant starch (fiber). The harder fragments of the plant the more prebiotic (resistant starch) they contain. For example, in starchy broccoli the most is in the stems.
The symbiotic is probably the best food for us from the health point of view of the microbiome. It contains both probiotics (bacteria) and prebiotics (resistant starch). This category is dominated by cabbage silage, cucumbers, beets and many more. How to make tasty and healthy silage you can listen to this podcast.