Recent studies have demonstrated that around 9 out of 10 cells in our body are not yours! They’re the bugs inside you.
Yes that’s right… BUGS!
(…cue the dramatic music)
The bugs inside us play a huge role in our immunity. These 9 ‘other’ cells make up the human microbiome; the sum of bacteria, fungi parasites living on and inside of us. Some of the most well known colonisations are; the skin, lungs, mouth and gastrointestinal tract. Interestingly, they have also been found; in plaques in arteries, in the joint fluid of rheumatoid arthritis and within areas of the brain with Alzheimers Disease.
I want to be clear here; a microbial presence is unavoidable and essential to humans, it’s how we utilise them to keep us healthy which is important.
So…how do we get an infection from bugs then?
Medical research is currently reframing the way we view infections. In a nut shell, this is how it works:
1) Organisms in nature and in our bodies, form colonies called biofilms, they can be good and bad.
2) Biofilms adhere to a surface (a rock in a creek, the mucous lining in our intestines, on a tooth). As the colony grows, it secretes and surrounds itself with a substance to provide protection and stability (see image below).
3) This provides resistance to our immune system attack and any antibiotics.
4) If the biofilm community is depleted by our immunity, or antibiotics, it can retain the ability to regrow from a few ‘persistor cells.’ When the environment becomes favourable (we’re stressed, inflamed, poor diet, poor sleep, suppressed immunity); it will recolonize. Then you’re in trouble!
This makes chronic infection extremely difficult to eliminate.
A picture of symptoms can speak a thousand words. These types of biofilms are not detected in urine or blood. Table 1 shows you some signs and symptoms of chronic infection.
How to have a great immunity, a healthy microbiome
and avoid chronic disease
It’s very difficult to summarise in such a short space, but here goes…
Reduce Microbial load (improve the balance of “good bugs” vs “bad bugs”).
Reframe the relationship from “kill all the bugs” attitude to one of peaceful co-existence.
Reduce overgrowth of harmful microbes through, herbs, vitamins and minerals, aimed to strengthen our immune system to tip the balance in our favour.
A combination of live probiotics of specific strains are very powerful in correcting the microbiome.
Addressing dietary factors goes a long well. Excessive animal protein, simple sugars, gluten, casein (dairy) and chemicals like preservatives have been shown to alter the gut flora composition and change the bacteria from beneficial to toxic.
Eat a diet rich in natural foods; lots of plant-based foods, with adequate protein and fats.
Mushrooms- not the ‘magic’ kind! (types- cordyceps, reishi and shiitake) These are anti- fungal, anti-inflammatory and anti-parasitic. But they’re not the ones in the supermarket!
Vitamin C, Vitamin Bs, digestive enzymes, gastric acid support, Vitamin D and Zinc also are very beneficial in supporting the immune system and digestion, energy production.
Now go enjoy a balanced meal with your internal flatmates!