Dr. Sonya Nobbe, ND
Though integrative medicine professionals have educated patients about the bacteria in their digestive tract for decades, a recent explosion of research and media attention is bringing this medical game-changing understanding to public light: Our lives depend on these bacteria. We’re neglecting to care for them and now our healthcare system is overwhelmed by epidemics of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, asthma, obesity, and cancer, all of which are scientifically linked to unhealthy gut bacteria. We’ve acknowledged that this “gut microbiome” is directly linked to our immune system, thereby triggering autoimmune diseases, allergies, and asthma, when unbalanced. It’s also linked to our brain, thereby influencing our behaviour and possibly even triggering mood disorders. Though this science remains a few years ahead of current conventional medical practice, traditional medical systems such as Asian medicine, adapted by Western Integrative Medicine practitioners, have much experience and wisdom to share with us about protecting our gut bacteria, and our health.
Our bodies are composed of 10 times more bacteria than cells. The majority of these bacteria exist in our gut alongside where about 70% of our immune system function resides. They generate chemicals that teach our immune cells how to function and target harmful microbes. We’ve evolved with these bacteria so that disturbing them at critical points in our lives causes serious immune system shifts that we’re only beginning to understand. Therefore, immune imbalances such as asthma, allergies, or inflammation (e.g. some chronic pain conditions, heart disease, and some skin disorders), are a key sign that the gut microbiome may not be healthy. Gastrointestinal diseases or symptoms of poor digestive function (e.g. bloating, heartburn, constipation or diarrhea), are also common signs that the gut microbiome requires some extra protection.
Protecting your Gut Microbiome