The deeper truth of “you are what you eat”


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One of the hottest areas in science today is bringing us closer than ever to understanding the truth of that old saying, “you are what you eat.” An explosion of research regarding intestinal bacteria is finding an astonishing number of critical links between the gut’s microbial environment, the maintenance of good health and the prevention or cure of disease.

Advances in DNA sequencing and other technologies have given scientists the ability to more precisely identify what is going on in the microbiome of the digestive system, with its population of tens of trillions of bacteria and microscopic organisms. There are some 160 different species of organism and new ones are still being discovered.

Obviously, the bacteria affect intestinal health, but the microbes also produce small molecules that affect or regulate many other physiological processes, such as the body’s immune system, metabolic functions and even cognitive ability.

The food and nutrients we consume affects the balance and constituents of the microbial environment. Breast fed infants have a different microbiome than do formula fed babies; people eating a Western diet are populated with different bacteria than are those that follow a plant-based diet. And anyone who’s had multiple courses of antibiotics (or consumed them through the water and food supply) has an intestinal microbiome that is somehow compromised.

Current awareness of the importance of gut bacteria, much of it gained without input from the medical community, has led to a global market for probiotic supplements and foods upwards of $32 billion annually, with an expected growth rate of 20 percent a year.

As the crop of new research yields results, it is likely that many new bacteria-based treatments will be found for preventing and curing type 2 diabetes, bolstering the immune system, controlling multiple sclerosis, countering the increase in food allergies, curing ADHD and even manipulating the metabolic system to significantly decrease the incidence of obesity.

These studies of the intestinal microbiome will bring us much closer to the maturation and realization of the Whole Health Healing trend Gerald Celente has been forecasting.

 

Read more articles from this issue of Trends Monthly online.

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