10:1, 3:1 or 1.3:1. Tens of trillions. Whichever study we decide to believe, we can’t avoid the fact, we are not just human cells. We have just started touching base on what the human body is comprised of. The most important conclusion is, we can’t survive without other microorganisms.
We are grown and taught into understanding, through scarce biology lessons, that human bodies are more or less sterile. That bacteria, ‘parasites’ and viruses, can only cause harm. We are taught to believe, that for example blood is always sterile. Though RNA sequencing show that even healthy blood can have both dormant, as much as active microbial cultures. […] Little is known about the human microbiome in the blood of donors in the absence of sepsis, as blood has been generally considered a sterile environment lacking proliferating microbes […].
When it comes to guts and the gutlings living in them, the story becomes even more interesting. By some very cautious estimates, just our intestines are home to over 400 different strains of bacteria. What is even more interesting, they share the space with well known parasites, like worms and even fungi.
Up until external factors impact this family negatively, they all live happily ever after.
And why is it so important to understand this? Neurotransmitters. The very thing that actually makes you think clearly and to be seen as ‘sane’. Also to experience healthy emotions.
Evidence is now emerging that, through interactions with the gut–brain axis, the bidirectional communication system between the central nervous system and the gastrointestinal tract, the gut microbiome can also influence neural development, cognition and behaviour, with recent evidence that changes in behaviour alter gut microbiota composition, while modifications of the microbiome can induce depressive-like behaviours. [link]
To get this into an even less funny mode, this disbiosis can be a potential trigger for epilepsy and other brain-damaging illnesses. The theory here is that both your brain and your gut talk to each other. Through something that is called vagus nerve (a major pathway of the autonomous nervous system). In case your gut is inflamed, this connection starts malfunctioning, eventually leading to short-circuits.
Gut inflammation, following a microbiome disbiosis, can also be linked to development of alcoholism.
These results suggest the existence of a gut–brain axis in alcohol dependence, which implicates the gut microbiota as an actor in the gut barrier and in behavioral disorders. Thus, the gut microbiota seems to be a previously unidentified target in the management of alcohol dependence.
So are we getting sick only, if we contract some unhealthy bacteria from outside? Like La vie is trying to teach us?
The answer is not this simple. Bacteria tagged harmful for Lyme disease, was found in a fossilised human body that is close to 5300 years old. The man was 45. He was a hunter and gatherer. Most likely had met a very violent death. From an arrow. No, I can’t imagine this hunter suffering from symptoms of chronic Lyme. Like fatigue, depression, constant pains and disorientation. He was found in the darn Eastern Alps (to some, who can’t picture. Imagine you just travelled 400 miles on foot, alone, eating just what you have found or hunted. Not likely for a common Lyme patient nowadays).
Separately, it was proved that at least some bacteria, can be hidden turncoats. Streptococcus strains can be both good and bad, depending on conditions. Similar is being suggested for E. coli. The dreaded diarrhoea bug. I mean, also present in our guts and often used as probiotics.
Just to note, for the purpose of this article, I am skipping acute illnesses, like flu or malaria (triggered by bacteria or parasites). The context here are long-term inflammatory diseases, that can be tracked back to microbiome disbiosis, but don’t produce obvious symptoms.
So what factors can turn a healthy microbiome into a all-killing inflammatory monster? The answer is multiple environmental factors.
We need to remember, that even harmless bacteria will start defending themselves, if attacked. Little is known on what can trigger a specific group to feel threatened. Once they respond, they start pumping neuro-toxins in their defence, which then further lead to i.e. leaky guts and multiple other symptoms.
We have made multiple development changes, especially in the western world. But we are not used to thinking on long-term effects of the changes. We are used to the fact, that illness is something acute. Feeling dizzy often can’t be an illness, feeling depressed must have something to do with psychology, feeling dislocated from the body or lack of zest – psychiatrist and Prozac.
But not only that specifically. We are also being slowly inhabited by bacteria modified for GMO crops, which have the potential to modify DNA of other bacteria and plants. These are mass-produced to resist toxin. Does antibiotic crisis ring a bell?
In the end – what can we do?
I will continue in future series of articles on some of the remediation factors. And there are people, who recover.
Not all of us will suffer as much, but the stats predict: It has been calculated, that 50% of the population today will die with or of degenerative brain disease