A new study in the journal Nutrition in Clinical Practice shows that microorganisms (or bacteria) in the human gastrointestinal tract form an intricate, living process that naturally controls body weight, energy, and nutrition. Did you get that? Bacteria can be good! (So skip those antibacterial soaps if you haven’t already.) Most bacteria is friendly actually. And we really need these kinds of friends.

Friendly bacteria are fundamental to good health in so many ways. They…

  • Protect the integrity of the intestinal lining.
  • Maintain immunity, since around half of the body’s immune cells are in the intestines.
  • Manufacture B vitamins (useful for vegans).
  • Manufacture essential fatty acids.
  • Extract calcium from dairy products.
  • Aid absorption of vitamins and minerals.
  • Produce enzymes to break down foods.
  • Produce butyric acid, required for building colon cells.
  • Produce anti-tumour substances.
  • Produce antiviral substances.
  • Produce anti-fungal substances.
  • Prevent candida overgrowth.
  • Destroy e coli, shigella, and salmonella by making the intestinal tract more acidic and by releasing substances such as lactic acid, hydrogen peroxide, and selective antibiotics.
  • Neutralize endotoxins produced in the body.
  • Neutralize potentially carcinogenic nitrites in the digestive tract.
  • Aid peristalsis (the movement of the gut muscles for stool elimination) to prevent constipation.
  • Get rid of excess cholesterol by breaking down bile.
  • Regulate cytokines so as to reduce inflammation.
  • Produce anti-cancer isothiocyanates, such as sulfurophane and indol-3-carbinol from foods. (These beneficial compounds are also found in fermented foods.)

 Each individual’s guts are unique and profoundly sensitive to environmental conditions, beginning at birth. Even how a baby is born has been shown to affect it’s guts bacteria.
“Communities of vaginal microbes change during pregnancy, (dominated by a pair of bacterial species, Lactobacillus and Prevotella) in preparation for birth. These deliver beneficial microbes to the newborn who is born vaginally. In contrast, infants delivered by caesarean section typically show microbial communities associated with some of the stuff on the skin, including Staphylococcus, Corynebacterium, and Propionibacterium.”

While the full implications of these distinctions are still murky, evidence suggests they this may affect an infant’s subsequent development and health, particularly in terms of susceptibility to pathogens. There’s a definite connection though between your gut, your brain, and your immune system, starting from birth. Neurological, psychological, and autoimmune disorders are all heavily influenced by the health of your gut.

A good diet is crucial for us all, but it’s particularly crucial for pregnant women and young children. Children who are born with severely damaged gut flora or bacteria, are not only more susceptible to disease but they’re also more susceptible to vaccine damage. “What happens in these children [is that] they do not develop normal gut flora from birth… As a result, their digestive system—instead of being a source of nourishment for these children—becomes a major source of toxicity. These pathogenic microbes inside their digestive tract damage the integrity of the gut wall. “

That usually happens in the second year of life in children who were breast fed because breastfeeding provides a protection against this abnormal gut flora. In children who were not breastfed,  the symptoms developing in the first year of life. So breastfeeding is crucial to protect these children! The formula fed child misses that window of opportunity of learning and starts developing neurological, psychological, and autoimmune disorder symptoms early on. (Depending on the mixture of toxins, and how severely abnormal the gut flora is in the child.)

 “It’s important to understand that the gut flora your child acquires during vaginal birth is dependent on the mother’s gut flora. So if mother’s micro flora is abnormal, the child’s will be as well. 100 percent of mom’s of autistic children have abnormal gut flora and health problems related to that. But then I look at grandmothers on the mother’s side, and I find that the grandmothers also have abnormal gut flora, but much milder. What we have is a generational build-up of abnormal gut flora, with each generation becoming ever more prone to being further harmed from the use of antibiotics—and vaccines as well.”

 Digestive issues, asthma, allergies, skin problems and all autoimmune disorders are also common outgrowths that flood into the bloodstream of the child, and get into the brain of the child.

 As time goes on, we’re gaining more and more information about the important roles gut flora plays in maintaining overall health. The good news is that this is an area you can exercise a lot of control over. And like in the past, we don’t need to be rich and buy expensive supplements in order to be healthy.

 Historically, people didn’t have the same problems with their gut health as we do today, for the simple fact that they got large quantities of beneficial bacteria,( i.e. probiotics,) from their diets, in the form of fermented or cultured foods.

You can ferment virtually any food, and every traditional culture has always fermented their foods to prevent spoilage. There are also many fermented beverages. Quite a large percent of all the foods that people use to consume on a daily basis were fermented, and each mouthful provides trillions of beneficial bacteria—far more than you can get from a probiotics supplement. Literally, one serving of fermented vegetables (like pickles) is equal to an entire bottle of a high potency probiotic! Fermented foods also give you a wider variety of beneficial bacteria, so all in all, it’s your most cost effective alternative to probiotics.

So, fermented foods in a good diet can quickly alter the composition of your gut flora. Conversely though, processed foods, (high in sugar and chemical additives while low in nutrients,) are a surefire way to decimate the beneficial bacteria in your gut, allowing the harmful pathogenic kind of bacteria to thrive. Dysbiosis, a bacterial imbalance, is common in Western society thanks to the Standard American (S.A.D.) diet. Dysbiosis encourages yeasts and putrefactive bacteria to flourish, instead of beneficial bacteria.  This diet also causes inflammation of the gut and excessive intestinal permeability (leaky gut syndrome), leading to conditions such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, Celiac disease and irritable bowel syndrome. Allergies, systemic candida, eczema, autoimmune disease, arthritis, and even mental illness have all been linked to Dysbiosis. If your stool smells unpleasant, it is a bad sign of too much putrefaction and an imbalance of gut flora. 

Maintaining optimal gut flora, and ‘reseeding’ your gut with fermented foods and probiotics, (especially when you’re taking an antibiotic,) may be one of the most important
steps you can take to improve your overall health.

Eat fermented foods like:

  • Yogurt
  • Kefir
  • Aged cheese
  • Crème fraiche and sour cream 
  • Traditionally fermented soy products (miso, tempeh, traditionally brewed soy sauce)
  • Traditionally fermented pickled vegetables (capers, olives, pickles, Sauerkraut, chutneys.
  • Umeboshi plums 
  • Thai fish sauce, ketchup, mustard 
  • Tofuyo (fermented tofu) 
  • Sprouted foods                                                                                                                      (Soaking a bean, grain, or seed in water causes the outer hull to be broken down by probiotics—fermented—which enables the sprouting process. Foods treated by soaking, sprouting, or fermenting have higher and more easily absorbed nutrient contents. Sprouting also reduces the content of antinutrients, such as phytic acid, which inhibits the absorption of minerals such as iron and zinc from these grains.)
  • Chocolate
  • Tempeh
  • Salami
  • Kimchi
  • Sourdough starter for making fermented healthy breads and pancakes.
  • Kombucha 
  • Natto

 Fermenting your own foods is a fairly straight-forward and simple process, and can provide great savings! If you aren’t eating fermented foods, you most likely need to supplement with a probiotic on a regular basis, especially if you’re eating a lot of processed foods.

 Taken from mostly:

How Your Gut Flora Influences Your Health 

 by Dr. Mercola