BOOK REVIEWS

Friendly bacteria

Book review

Our digestive tract is home to 4kg of bacteria

With over 4KG of our body weight comprised of bacteria living in our gut, our digestion and health depends on having the right, friendly bacteria around to help. In fact, there are more foreign cells by number in our bodies. These invader cells are far smaller than human cells, the bacteria, viruses and fugi that envelope the body inside and out. See National Geographic’s How Many Cells Are in the Human Body—And How Many Microbes?

Symbiosis

We live with many foreign living organisms in and on our bodies, some help symbiotically, some hinder pathogenetically. One of the causes of acne in pimply adolescents is the absence of a helpful bacteria on their face. Most kids are helped by a beneficial bacteria that kills the spot bacteria. We could not eat without helpful bacteria.

Our mouths, stomachs, large and small intestines are flourishing swamps of fungus and bacteria. Human bites have been shown to transmit hepatitis B, hepatitis C, herpes simplex virus, syphilis, tuberculosis and tetanus. But without our resident bacteria we would not survive a day. All four types of micro-organism are found and seem to play a part in how we operate: bacteria, virus, yeast (fungus) and archaea - plus protozoa and algae. Animals really are not a single organism but more like a eco-system, we are not all human and without our symbiotic relationships we would not survive but then we wouldn't suffer from problems like so called auto-immune illness, cancer and dandruff either! There are many indications that Aspergers and Autism are gut microbiome related and forms of ADHD, depression and anxiety are too.

At a most profound level we rely on bacteria as we have “merged” with some – the mitochondria in our cells, the batteries that give every cell energy – have merged with our own DNA to equip every cell with an embedded bacterial battery!

Our micro-biome affects our mood

The good guys, the helpful bacteria, help us break down complex foods like protein into more easily digested substances. The bad guys cause wind, cramps, digestive pain, immune issues, mal-absorption, mental ill-health, obesity and depression. Research is beginning to show serious problems with how modern lifestyles negatively impact our benign micro-friends.
  • At caesarean delivery means the baby doesn’t pick its mum’s microbiome, but instead collects it from first contact
  • Artificial sweeteners encourage the development of the bad bacteria that increase obesity and depression
  • Antibiotics “napalm” the gut, wiping out all bacteria, allowing the bad to return stronger, often fungi like candida then thrive
  • Toxins: mercury in tuna, chlorine in tap water, pesticides on our fruit – attack the good guys working diligently on our behalf
  • We eat too little earthy, natural vegetables to keep conditions alkali rather than acidic
  • High levels of sugar boosts the yeast bad guys
With all these assaults on the good bacteria, they needs some help. Firstly avoid harmful substances above, eat a natural healthy organic diet with no sugar, low to no carbs, plenty of veg and fruit (not juice), good protein (natural grass not corn fed), filter your water, cut out the crap. Boost the good guys  by eating some. Those liquid yogurts like Actimel, claim a few thousand of limited varieties of bacteria will do the job, but I tend to better believe that pills from the health food store work better with often 50 million bacteria from a far wider variety of strains.

Medicine is waking up to the benefits from our micro-biome and shortly new medications will appear to help us strengthen and replenish our symbiotic helpers, whether to prevent acne or lighten our mood.
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ADHD Coach, Andrew Lewis

Andrew Lewis

Andrew Lewis is an ADHD Coach, writer and founder of SimplyWellbeing. He has over ten thousand hours and fifteen years of experience in coaching ADHD executives, business professionals and creatives. His expertise with ADHD is personal, with decades of his own experience, bringing up an ADHD child, running a large support group and in coaching clients often for years He has published his writing via this website and has ADHD online courses in development. His business expertise comes from a twenty years career in software, from programming, through marketing, sales and running a few start-ups.

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