STLL: Microbes block health


Health, at its most basic, is communication.

One of the various things that can block communication is MICROBES.

Definition of a microbe:

A microbe is the oldest form of life on earth and is further categorized into: bacteria, viruses, archaea, fungi & protists. Fossil records indicate that mounds of microbes covered the earth 3.5 billion years ago. That’s back when the earth was covered with oceans that boiled and hundreds of millions of years before dinosaurs roamed… also, before Justin Bieber.

There are three categories of microbes in the human body:

1 -> Beneficial microbes: in balanced numbers
2 -> Beneficial microbes: in overgrown, abnormal numbers (too many of ’em)
3 -> BAD microbes: in any number

**From now on, “microbes” will generally refer to bacteria, since that’s the most-studied microbe.**

Human bodies NEED their microbes (bacteria)! Without them, they would die. They would perish very, very quickly. (That is meant to sound dramatic because it is, quite simply, that dire.)

Microbes do so much for human bodies… they help them digest food, extract and use nutrients, MAKE nutrients (some B vitamins + vitamin K), defend against bad microbes, decide whether to store or burn calories, turn on and off genes… and so much more. Without microbes, plants couldn’t grow, garbage wouldn’t decompose, it wouldn’t snow (at the center of every snowflake is a single bacterium)… and most importantly, fermented foods like chocolate, wine, beer, salami and cheese would not exist <gasp>!

Microbes ARE humans. Humans ARE their microbes.
…but, without humans, microbes would be just dandy.

Take a moment to look at your body (just look down– no need to get up to find a mirror.) See yourself? Well, 90% of you is made up of bacteria. For every 1 of your cells, there are 9 bacterial cells in and on your body. You are 10% human. You might want to send a hearty thanks to the microbes you are hosting!

In a way, you’re even more than 90% microbial… It turns out, the mitochondria in each of your cells (each of your cells has an organelle, called a mitochondria, that creates energy– it’s like a little engine) WERE microbes at one point in evolutionary history. Here’s the detail, quoted from learn.genetics.utah.edu.

There is compelling evidence that mitochondria and chloroplasts were once primitive bacterial cells. This evidence is described in the endosymbiotic theory. How did this theory get its name? Symbiosis occurs when two different species benefit from living and working together. When one organism actually lives inside the other it’s called endosymbiosis. The endosymbiotic theory describes how a large host cell and ingested bacteria could easily become dependent on one another for survival, resulting in a permanent relationship. Over millions of years of evolution, mitochondria and chloroplasts have become more specialized and today they cannot live outside the cell.

So, how do microbes block communication?

Imbalance is never good. When “good” gut microbes become imbalanced, it’s called dysbiosis. Dysbiosis is bad. Lactobacillus is a type of bacteria you may have heard of. It’s in a lot of probiotics you’ll see in your local health food store. Lactobacillus is kinda the poster child for bacteria… but even L-dog, when overgrown, can block communication.

What causes dysbiosis? Eating too many refined carbs (flour and sugar, ie. cookies, pasta, bread, crackers, pretzels, muffin tops, muffin bottoms, cakes, tiramisu, crème brûlée and Twinkies), drinking too much sugar (soda/pop/soda pop & fruit-heavy smoothies), various random and insidious toxins and excess stress (physical/emotional/mental).

If populations of “good” bacteria bloom, other kinds of bacteria get crowded out– your colon is 5-7 feet long, but still, there’s only so much room. This means those bacteria that are now crowded out can’t do all the good stuff they were doing previously.

Also, bacteria secrete stuff (think of it as poop and pee, unless that grosses you out). When populations of certain types of bacteria bloom, they make more stuff. And at higher concentrations, this stuff can be as damaging to tissues as any other toxin. That stuff can also change the pH of the body’s fluids or nourish other species of bacteria. All of this can spike inflammation, which blocks communication via the metaphor of thick smog preventing two radio towers from sending/receiving signals.

This is why fecal transplants are, despite the gross-out factor, highly effective for various conditions (from c. diff infections to multiple sclerosis)… and often, the effects can be seen in minutes.

The other category of microbe cited above is #3: bad microbes, in any number. This refers to an infection with some kind of bacteria or virus that is never supposed to be in a human body in the first place. For example, the common cold. Or, food poisoning with salmonella on undercooked chicken or e. coli in infected beef. (Interestingly, there are strains of e. coli that are naturally present in the body and are very beneficial (when present in small numbers)!) In the case of an invasion, communication is blocked by the activity of the immune system, whether that’s because the body’s raw materials and energy is going to defense or because of inflammation in general.

*Sometimes getting sick is okay, though… why? Say there are a few “bad” microbes floating around in your body that haven’t had a chance to get a foothold. Well, if some other “bad” microbe comes along and triggers your body to evacuate those bowels or spike a fever, that other, more nefarious microbe could be wiped out before it ever had a chance to cause any problems.

IN SUMMARY: Good bacteria in the correct numbers is highly amazingly crucially supportive of health. But, if microbes become imbalanced (dysbiosis) or if some invader stirs up trouble, communication is hampered and health will be negatively affected.

How to support your microbes?

Avoid those foods mentioned above that can cause dysbiosis (refined flour/sugar, liquid sugar), try to limit toxins, practice stress management every day (such as STLL!), eat fermented foods (especially sauerkraut & kimchi– just a bite or two with each meal!) and consider probiotics supplements (high quality only!)

{Other things that block communication: ToxinsNutrient deficienciesPhysical traumaEmotional trauma}