We can neither see nor feel it. But inside our gastrointestinal tract (i.e. intestine) lives an interconnected system of microorganisms totaling approximately 100 trillion cells harboring up to 2000 types of bacteria.
What’s amazing is that this invisible colony living inside our intestines, which also includes fungi (yeasts) and viruses, collectively weighs about the same as our brains at around 3 pounds.
Bacteria evoke feelings of naughtiness, but most of the bacteria in our guts are there to help us. In fact, this network of “good bugs” makes up 70-80% of our immune system and is our frontline defense against pathogens and harmful microbes.
Microorganisms in this complex system, known as the “gut microbiome”, live primarily in the large and small intestines, but we can also find them in other parts of the body, including the nose, mouth and skin. And they have a variety of complex effects on our health.
Not only do they lower the pH of our intestines to make it more unfavorable to bad microbes, but many also secrete antimicrobial compounds and block them from receptor sites in the intestine.
When gut conditions aren’t ideal for good bacteria, the bad guys can crowd out the good guys.
Known as dysbiosis, this can lead to a cascade of health problems and unpleasant symptoms, including digestive disorders and yeast infections.
Although research is ongoing, an unhealthy gut caused by a low diversity of good gut bacteria may be a risk factor for various diseases.
The good news is that there are some things you can do to keep the good bacteria in your gut thriving so you can reap the benefits they provide.
Every day our bodies are bombarded with a variety of environmental toxins and harmful chemicals in the air and water. But they also hide in our food, skincare, toiletries, and homes. Pollutants like pesticides and heavy metals can have a negative effect on our gut health and the beneficial bacteria in our intestines.
Our sincere thanks to