As I’ve been busily shutting down one clinic to open another, I’ve logged many miles of driving-which has given me time to think about the microbiome as well (really!) Why would the microbiome matter? Here’s my top ten list, as a microbial tribute to David Letterman’s years of late night entertainment:
10. It guides the development of the human brain early in life
9. It influences our moods, desires, behaviors throughout life
8. The microbiome helps develop and guide the immune system
7. Our HPA axis (Hypothalamus, Pituitary, Adrenal) is heavily influenced by the microbiome early in life, which determines our response to stress…
6. The human microbiome can alter the way our brain’s receptors respond to neurotransmitters, changing it significantly.
5. If our microbiome becomes imbalanced (dysbiosis) it can cause inflammation, brain dysfunction, immune dysfunction, changes in appetite, obesity, depression…and many other problems
4. The microbiome is extremely vulnerable to antibiotics from doctors or in (non-organic) meat that we consume. Once species die off and diversity is lost, dysbiosis results
3. Glyphosate, the most commonly used herbicide on the planet, is toxic to gut bacteria (and also mitochondria that supply our cells with energy)
2. Gut bacteria are true symbiont organisms; they aren’t “hitching a ride” but are indeed a part of us that functions more like a vital organ. They are part of why we are alive; death of the microbiome causes disease and aging!
1. The only source of energy that fuels this planet is sunlight, and only plants (true plants, algae, cyanobacteria) can process sunlight into biomass. After that, only bacteria can digest plants to produce energy…so everything from termites to cattle including us can only digest plants because of our gut bacteria. No gut bacteria? very very bad news!
So, get out your copy of my book, The Symbiont Factor, and read up on the microbiome, okay? Oh, you don’t have it yet? Be good to your bugs and buy a copy then!