One of my favorite topics to discuss is how important bacteria is for our survival. At first glance that may sound backwards, right? ...good bacteria?The truth is the medical community raised this big scare about how bad bacteria is and that germs can make us sick. While this is true, it is only half the truth. What they forget to tell us (coincidently) is just how important good bacteria is and how important good bacteria is for our health. Of course, there is such a thing as bad bacteria, but raging a war against all bacteria can suppress our immune system. Check this out.
Our gut health is very important and a topic that must be discussed when it comes to the wellbeing of the human frame. You see, our gut contains microbes that we have a mutually beneficial relationship with, and without them, we simply wouldn’t have an immune system to protect us. We would be immune compromised. Let me explain.
Our GI tract houses over 100 trillion different microbes that make us who we are and contribute to our wellbeing, which includes different bacteria, microbial eukaryotes, archaea (often found in extreme environments), and even viruses (1).
This mutually beneficial relationship works because we provide a home for all these microbes and in turn, they help us with our innate (the one we were born with) and adaptive immunity (what destroys invading pathogens). These microbes not only run our immune system, but they also help us to break down food and absorb nutrients. Without the very building blocks (nutrients) our cells need to function optimally, things start to go south and our immune system (innate and adaptive) goes down, and we become immunocompromised.
As you can see, taking care of all these microbes that live in our GI tract is a MUST when it comes to the human frame. It is also important to note that we need good bacteria present and dominating our GI tract (balance of 85% good, 15% bad) to remain healthy and when the bad bacteria or bad guys take over, things go south.
Certain foods and most medications (ie. Birth control, NSAIDs, antibiotics + more) kill good bacteria and cause what is known as dysbiosis, which is just a fancy work for an imbalance in our gut microbiome (2). Just like in any situation, when the good guys disappear, the bad guys have an opportunity to take over and then we become immunocompromised. Dysbiosis will contribute to inflammation, setting up the foundation for chronic disease and cancer (this topic needs a day of its own).
Let’s take care of our good microbiome by limiting our dependence on medications and eating organic foods when possible. Organic foods are huge because conventionally grown produce contains pesticides and herbicides that were shown to kill our gut microbiome, causing us to then be immunocompromised (3).
It is also important to avoid processed foods, tap water (contains chlorine, which kills bacteria), fast food, and inflammatory oils (corn, vegetable, canola, soy, peanut, safflower, sunflower), all of which were shown to alter our gut microbiome for the worst.
This is why I love utilizing medicinal herbs (including CBD) as medicine for their immune boosting, anti-inflammatory, & pain managing properties, but most importantly because they don’t alter the gut microbiome, which I know is important when it comes to human health. This is the difference between sickness and health, and it all starts with the gut microbiome.
“The doctor of the future will give no medication but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, diet and in the cause and prevention of disease”—Thomas A. Edison
“Let food be thy medicine, and let medicine be thy food.” -Hippocrates
- Yin, R., Kuo, H. C., Hudlikar, R., Sargsyan, D., Li, S., Wang, L., Wu, R., & Kong, A. N. (2019). Gut microbiota, dietary phytochemicals and benefits to human health. Current pharmacology reports, 5, 332–344. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40495-019-00196-3
- Zhang P. (2022). Influence of Foods and Nutrition on the Gut Microbiome and Implications for Intestinal Health. International journal of molecular sciences, 23(17), 9588. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23179588
- Sharma, T., Sirpu Natesh, N., Pothuraju, R., Batra, S. K., & Rachagani, S. (2023). Gut microbiota: a non-target victim of pesticide-induced toxicity. Gut microbes, 15(1), 2187578. https://doi.org/10.1080/19490976.2023.2187578