Brain Maker - The Power of Gut Microbes to Heal and Protect Your Brain–for Life
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A fascinating journey in our microbiome, intestinal floral, in our gut, that controls our overall health.
INTRODUCTION - Bug Alert: You’ve Got Company
That’s right: what’s taking place in your intestines today is determining your risk for any number of neurological conditions.
The digestive system is intimately connected to what goes on in the brain. And perhaps the most important aspect of the gut that has everything to do with your general wellness and mental health is its internal ecology — the various microorganisms that live within it, especially the bacteria.
MEET YOUR MICROBIOME
We must consider how some bugs are not detrimental but fundamental to life.
Hippocrates, first said in the third century B.C.E., “All disease begins in the gut.”
a stunningly direct link between human longevity and a healthy balance of bacteria in the body, confirming that “death begins in the colon.”
up to 90 percent of all known human illness can be traced back to an unhealthy gut.
Right now, your body is colonized by a multitude of organisms that outnumber your own cells by a factor of about ten.
These roughly hundred trillion invisible creatures — microbes — cover your insides and outsides, thriving in your mouth, nose, ears, intestines, genitalia, and on every inch of your skin.
because each microbe contains its own DNA, that translates to more than eight million genes. In other words, for every human gene in your body, there are at least 360 microbial ones.
Most of these organisms live within your digestive tract.
you interact not only with these organisms but also with their genetic material.
We call this complex internal ecology that thrives within us and its genetic fingerprint the microbiome.
Research at the leading edge of medicine is now acknowledging that the state of the microbiome is so key to human health that it should be considered an organ in and of itself.
We have evolved to have an intimate, symbiotic relationship with these microbial inhabitants who have actively participated in shaping our evolution since the dawn of humankind (and indeed, they lived on the planet for billions of years prior to our emergence).
The microbiome affects our mood, libido, metabolism, immunity, and even our perception of the world and the clarity of our thoughts.
Put simply, everything about our health — how we feel both emotionally and physically — hinges on the state of our microbiome.
YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT
The idea that food is the most important variable in human health is not news. As the old adage goes, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.
Anyone can change the state of their microbiome — and fate of their health — through dietary choices.
hands down, the most significant factor related to the health and diversity of the microbiome is the food we eat.
regimen includes six essential keys: prebiotics, probiotics, fermented foods, low-carb foods, gluten-free foods, and healthful fat. I’ll explain how each of these factors plays into the health of the microbiome for the benefit of the brain.
You’re about to appreciate how your microbiome is the ultimate brain maker.
The mitochondria are tiny structures within our cells that have their own DNA separate from the DNA in the nuclei. The mitochondria can in fact be considered a third dimension to our microbiome;
Parts 1 and 2 will provide the foundation.
part 3: brain maker rehab program.
GUT CHECK - What Are Your Risk Factors?
WHILE THERE’S NO SINGLE TEST available today that can accurately tell you the state of your microbiome, you can gather clues by answering a few simple questions.
- Did your mother take antibiotics while she was pregnant with you?
- Did your mother take steroids like prednisone while she was pregnant with you?
- Were you born by C-section?
- Were you breast-fed for less than one month?
- Did you suffer from frequent ear and/or throat infections as a child?
- Did you require ear tubes as a child?
- Did you have your tonsils removed?
- Have you ever needed steroid medications for more than one week, including steroid nasal or breathing inhalers?
- Do you take antibiotics at least once every two to three years?
- Do you take acid-blocking drugs (for digestion or reflux)?
- Are you gluten-sensitive?
- Do you have food allergies?
- Are you extra sensitive to chemicals often found in everyday products and goods?
- Have you been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease?
- Do you have type-2 diabetes?
- Are you more than 20 pounds overweight?
- Do you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome?
- Do you have diarrhea or loose bowel movements at least once a month?
- Do you require a laxative at least once a month?
- Do you suffer from depression?
PART I - GETTING TO KNOW YOUR HUNDRED TRILLION FRIENDS
THEY DON’T HAVE EYES, EARS, noses, or teeth. They don’t have limbs, hearts, livers, lungs, or brains. They don’t breathe or eat like we do. You can’t even see them with the naked eye. But don’t underestimate them. On the one hand, bacteria are amazingly simple, each consisting of only a single cell. On the other hand, they are extraordinarily complex, even sophisticated in many ways, and they are a fascinating group of creatures. Don’t let their infinitesimally small size fool you. Some bacteria can live in temperatures that would boil your blood, and others thrive in below-freezing places. One species can even tolerate radiation levels thousands of times greater than you could withstand. These microscopic living cells feast on everything from sugar and starch to sunlight and sulfur. Bacteria are the foundation of all life on earth. They were the planet’s original life forms, and they will probably be the last. Why? Absolutely nothing living can exist without them, not even you.
CHAPTER 1 - Welcome Aboard - Your Microbial Friends from Birth to Death
the human microbiome will be at the forefront. I’ll prove to you that it’s as vital to your well-being as oxygen and water. What do your belly’s bugs have to do with the brain and related diseases?
WHO’S IN CHARGE? YOUR GUT’S BUGS
Perhaps there’s no better word for the microorganisms that live in your intestines and help with digestion than superheroes.
Collected together, the bacteria in your gut would weigh about three to four pounds, about the same weight as your brain.
you probably never heard about this veritable ecosystem living inside your digestive tract that pretty much commands the whole bodily system. You weren’t tested on the gut bacteria whose DNA may have a much greater impact on your health than your own DNA.
they are just as vital to your health as your own heart, lungs, liver, and brain.
the intestinal flora:
- Aid in digestion and the absorption of nutrients
- Create a physical barrier against potential invaders
- Act as a detoxification machine.
- Profoundly influence the immune system’s response. the gut is your biggest immune system organ.
- Produce and release important enzymes. chemicals for the brain, including vitamins and neurotransmitters.
- Help you handle stress
- Assist you in getting a good night’s sleep.
- Help control the body’s inflammatory pathways
THE ULTIMATE BRAIN MAKER
Scientists are just learning that the intimate relationship between your gut and brain is actually bidirectional: Just as your brain can send butterflies to your stomach, your gut can relay its state of calm or alarm to the nervous system.
80 to 90 percent of the amount of serotonin in your body is manufactured by the nerve cells in your gut.
your gut’s brain makes more serotonin — the master happiness molecule — than the brain in your head does.
psychiatrists are now realizing that this may be one reason why antidepressants are often less effective in treating depression than dietary changes are.
it is the immune system that helps the body recognize and eliminate cancerous cells, a process that’s occurring right now inside you.
Your gut has its own immune system, the “gut-associated lymphatic tissue” (GALT). It represents 70 to 80 percent of your body’s total immune system.
The reason most of your immune system is deployed in your gut is simple: the intestinal wall is the border with the outside world. Aside from skin, it’s where your body has the most chances of encountering foreign material and organisms.