Our human body is made up of around 70 trillion cells and 20,000 genes. Each single gene can make over 200 different proteins depending on the micro RNA that surrounds it.
Incredibly, we are made up of 10-15 times more bacteria than human cells.
We have a massive 1.5 – 2 quadrillion bacteria in us and on us.
These bacteria are extremely diverse comprising of 30,000-40,000 different species which have around 2 million genes of their own.
On top of that we have around 300,000 different species of parasites in and on us too. Most of these are NOT damaging, but actually life giving. Parasites are needed to help to regulate cellular functions. These parasites also have around 2 billion genes of their own.
There are 5 million species of fungi within us and science has not even begun to categorize the total number of viruses. However, we do know that nearly 10% of the human genome is made up of bits of virus DNA- most of which have a beneficial impact.
Our human microbiome is an amazing ecosystem!!!
There is growing scientific evidence that confirms the gut microbiome helps to improve immunity.
Hundreds of species inhabit our intestinal tract (bacteria, parasites, fungi and viruses) and the intestinal tract is our first line of defense. It plays an essential role in shaping intestinal immune responses.
Animals studies have shown that the gut microbiome is involved in the immune response during infection. Those with a depleted or damaged gut microbiome (as a result of antibiotics and other toxins) have an impaired response to viral infections and a delayed clearance.
So why are we as a human race so unhealthy?
The health of our human body relies on diversity.….
As a society we are becoming more sterile than ever and our bodies are losing this incredible protective and life-giving microbial diversity. Why?
- We are more stressed than ever before
- Hand sanitation and the sanitization of our environment has become an obsession.
- We consume antibiotics without much thought around their harmful long-term effects
- The environment that we live in and the food we eat, are constantly sprayed with Glyphosate (round-up) . This acts like antibiotic when we are exposed to it
- We have lost many of our traditional practices of fermentation
- We have lost our connection with nature and spend most of our days in the four walls of our sterile homes, cars or offices
- We have lost the diversity in our diet and consume the same packaged foods over and over again. These do not provide the nutrients and fiber that feed and sustains a thriving microbiome.
- We are consuming animal products that are laced with antibiotics and other toxins
- We are eating fruits and vegetables that are heavily sprayed with pesticides
- We are not getting adequate sleep
- We are not getting adequate exercise
- We are suffering from social isolation and a lack of community
- The rate of c-sections are higher than ever
- Many babies are also being fed infant formula rather than breastmilk
- We are consuming more medications than ever before
- Everyday we are lathering our bodies with toxic cosmetics and perfumes
- We are becoming more nutrient and mineral deficient
So what can we do to heal this incredible ecosystem and to bring more life and resilience back into our bodies?
It’s actually not that hard!!
Firstly, we need to become less vulnerable by removing damaging products and foods from our lives and by getting that critical ecosystem back into our bodies. We need to;
- Implement stress relieving practices daily (eg. meditation, yoga, singing out loud, gargling, laughing, brain training)
- Dedicate time daily to get back into nature and be exposed to microbes all around us- breathe, touch and swallow.
- Take off our shoes and step into your local parks. Get the grass between our toes
- Get a dog or other pet
- Start making wild ferments in our home eg. sauerkraut, kimchi
- Embrace a dirtier lifestyle and remove all of the toxic products from your shower, bathroom and home.
- Hug more
- Get back into your garden and start creating a vegetable patch or simply just pull out weeds on a regular basis
- Turn your Wi Fi off
- Eat a diet with greater plant food diversity eg. organic nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices and wholegrains
- Consume grassfed, organic or ocean caught seafood, meat and dairy products.
- Remove packaged and processed foods and replace them with whole nutrient dense foods that were once consumed by our ancestors
- Have your gut microbiome tested to determine any underlying imbalances
- Balance any mineral deficiencies
So why not take some steps today to keep your immune system functioning well and to care for your incredible microbes.
Lowering your STRESS response and consuming a healthy and diverse DIET should be the first steps! Your body and mind will thank you for it.