How Human do you think You are?

How Human do you think You are?

Being such dynamic contributors to human life, these microbes have been referred to as the ‘forgotten organ’. They behave like one of your own organs and are vital to your health and well-being.

This may come as a surprise if you believe that bacteria and microbes mean disease, and are to be annihilated at all costs. So, before you reach for the antibacterial spray, read on.

Your friendly microbes - all 100 trillion of them - include many different types of bacteria, viruses and fungi. More than 70% live in your digestive tract where they carry out a variety of valuable tasks. The human gut is claimed to be the most densely colonised ecosystem on the planet! And a healthy ecosystem will comprise a very diverse population.

So, what do they do? Some of the main functions of the beneficial microbes in your gut are:
to produce vital nutrients including vitamins such as Vitamin K and Folate (B9) and help you absorb minerals

to help you digest food, including breaking down fibre and producing short chain fatty acids

to protect you from disease causing organisms - in a diverse and balanced internal ecosystem, beneficial bacteria adhere to the wall of your gut and crowd out the nasties, compete for nutrients and create an environment that is not attractive or conducive to disease causing organisms

to interact with and influence your immune system (your bodies defence system) - most of your immune system cells live in your gut and your gut bacteria are responsible for teaching them how to behave so they know how to respond appropriately to everything you encounter. This function continues throughout life but is thought to be especially important in the first year, so it is really important to ensure that babies develop good gut microbes which train their immune systems appropriately and thereby avoid allergic reactions and auto-immune problems

to support the health of your gut by controlling the production of the new cells in your gut wall which keep it functioning and in good repair.

If your microbial population gets out of balance, and detrimental bacteria take hold, you can experience a variety of symptoms and disease including allergies, asthma, autism, eczema, digestive problems, hormonal and immune system imbalances, fatigue, headaches, anxiety, depression and mood swings, to name but a few. Such a diverse range of possible symptoms shows the importance of beneficial bacteria to your overall well-being.

The balance and diversity of microbes in your body is most easily upset by antibiotics which kill the good guys as well as the bad guys and destroy your personal ecosystem. For babies and young children, a lack of diverse and beneficial microbes can lead to long term health problems and a range of symptoms from asthma and eczema to autism. For example research shows that introducing specific favourable bacteria to pregnant mums and babies can reduce the incidence of eczema in babies by 50%.

Other research shows that Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) can be helped by introducing beneficial bacteria, and the incidence of C. Difficile diarrhoea in hospitalised patients (brought on after taking antibiotics for other infections) can be reduced.

Your bacterial diversity is also affected by your environment, your food and your stress levels. If you spend time outdoors in natural green spaces and eat fresh naturally grown, unprocessed food you have a greater chance to interact with a range of worthy microbes which will enhance your own personal micro-biome.

Now you know you’ll never walk alone, how does it feel? I have come to love the idea of being a walking, talking, living biome with many ‘small lives’ contributing to my welfare. And me to theirs. Looking after our microbes results in looking after ourselves, which in turn leads to looking after our environment.

As Ghandi said - “As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world …….. as in being able to remake ourselves.”

Who knows, by influencing and remaking your own personal community of microbes, you can start to change not just your self but the whole world too.

To find out more about your microbes, what they do, why they might be out of balance, how you can entice beneficial bacteria to take up residence in your body, and how it just might start to change the world :-

Come along to the Centre for Integral Health - Thursday 11 Sept at 10.30am for my talk on Good Bacteria - Good Digestion - Good Health and discover some simple solutions which can help you and your family develop and maintain a diverse colony of microbes to keep you healthy.

or Call Maria on 07785 791499 or

or Email for more details.

© Maria Franklin

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About the Centre

The Centre for Integral Health was started in 2013 by director Ben Calder after studying Integral theory since 2011 and over 10 years of professional practice of kinesiology and Bowen fascia Release Technique, coupled with the desire to explore the application of the Integral Model in relation to health.

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