Nutrition Topics‎ > ‎

Human Bacteria - 10 Points

This information was extracted from "Boost Your Health with Bacteria" by Fred Pescatore, MD.  He cites several hundred studies, scientific papers, and books that he has used to glean and present this information.
In summary:
Human bacteria, both the good and the bad, live in and on our bodies and have so since we were born.  Keeping them in balance is critical to good health. 
Understanding human bacteria is the subject of the new international endeavor called The Human Microbiome Project, jump-started with NIH funding in the year 2007.  Already, there is scientific evidence that the trillions of bacteria in and on us contribute to everything from cancer and heart disease to depression, weight gain, toxicity, eczema, auto-immune diseases and all major diseases.  In fact, the interest was first generated for this study because of some rat studies showing that changing the gut bacteria of rats could induce weight loss.  This got the pharmaceutical industry very interested in having this field of science studied!
Some interesting facts:
1.  Humans consist of 90% bacteria compared to only 10% human cells.  (that's not a typo!)  We are 10x more little bugs than human cells!        Best to keep them happy.
2.  There are some 100 trillion bacteria on and in us.
3.  There are approximately 100 million bacteria in a 1  of space on our inner elbows and 3 inches away on the forearm will be a completely different colony.  They group together to work.
4.  Beneficial bacteria can help us prevent disease and even treat disease.
5.  The use of anti-biotics destroy the harmony in these hard working colonies in our intestines and probiotics are needed to get them back to a healthy normal.  Only recently has mainstream medicine  recognized the danger in upsetting our micro-flora.
6.  The scientists are finding that every human has different sets and amounts of various colonies of bacteria.  Our intestinal bacterial set-up is like a fingerprint for each one of us.
7.  There are several bacterial families that should not get out of control, even though we harbor small amounts of them without due harm, normally.  Salmonella, e.coli, staph, strep, etc are not good to their host (us!) and can kill us if they take over.  Antibiotics save lives but then the gut must be re-innoculated with the good guys.  Failing to do this after a course of anti-biotics, we are now recognizing, can set us up for major illnesses in the future:  cancer, heart diseast, obesity, rheumatoid diseases, scizophrenia, OCD, depression,  you name it! One series of antibiotics doesn't normally cause much harm but several courses in a row can definitely cause problems.  Or, even once in a while over a few decades.  One time, for whatever reason, our intestines can't snap back with a good-guy takeover.
8.  Scientists working in the Microbiome project are mapping human bacteria (just like the Human Genome project - even using many of the same scientitst and methods) to see what these bacteria mean and what they're doing.  They are also looking at how we can replenish each person's "fingerprint" to bring back good health and fight disease.
9.  Even though we each have a slightly different set-up in our intestinal micro-flora, introducing lactic acid bacteria has proven to be helpful to everyone.  In folk medicine, it is known that using fermented foods like sauerkraut, miso, tempeh, kefir, helps feed the population of lactic acid bacteria.
10. Modern man's delimna:  If we're suffering from obvious intestinal difficulties (indigestion, diahhrea, bad breath, GERD, constipation, IBS, urinary & genital track infections, diverticulitis, food poisioning,  etc), how can we replenish the good guys?
Enter: The World of Probiotics.  (ie:  "pro-life")
Topic of next email:  Which ones work?  Which ones are worth buying?
Until then, keep eating the things that keep the little (good) critters happy:
Specific foods that help:  berries, kale, spinach, onions, garlic, tomatoes, lentils, chickpeas, black beans.
These complex carbohydrates offer valuable amounts of pre-biotic nutrients to keep the pro-biotic bacteria happy!
** Juice Plus+ users rejoice!  Using the 3 colors of juice plus capsules over time begins to change our micro-flora for the better because it offers, on a daily basis, the good food for the healthy bacteria to grow.  Interestingly, pre-biotic carbohydrate foods do not feed the gram-negative unhealthy bacteria.  Nature knows what she's doing!   (Some of you might remember that "Silver Solution" also just kills the gram-negative bacteria and does not harm the good guys.  For food poisioning specifically, it's always a good idea to have a bottle on hand!)
mary anne