Can yogurt make you a more motivated and happier person?
Can yogurt make you a more motivated and happier person?
by Calvin Tribelhorn
Within all of us there is an organ with over 100 million nerve cells.
It regulates your digestive process and the flow of blood around your intestines.
It knows if what you just ate was poisonous and needs to be expelled.
This organ is also the root cause of depression in millions of people around the world.
And if you guessed the brain…
You would be wrong.
This organ is your gut, and the trillions of bacteria that call it home.
It has so much influence over your brain that scientists now refer to it as the second brain. Go figure.
This community of microbial stowaways in your gut are so numerous that they out number your human cells ten to one .
Meaning that you are only 10% human and 90% bacteria.
Bacteria are everywhere, from your skin to all the things you touch. They are present wherever you go.
So millions of years ago we made a deal with them. We provide them with food and shelter and in turn they work for us.
And they have evolved with us for millions of years.
They have shaped, to a large extent, the food we eat.
And the food we eat has been feeding both us and our microbes for millions of years.
But something has changed in our diet over the last 100 years.
Since the dawn of industrialization we’ve embarked on a silent crusade of these microbes.
This has resulted in some devastating effects on our physical and mental health.
The forced swim test
There is an experiment used by pharmaceutical companies to test the effectiveness of new drugs.
This test determines if antidepressants have any viability in helping people with their depression.
It is called the forced swim test.
Mice are placed in a bowl of water too deep for them to stand in and too steep for them to climb out.
They are then timed to see how long they swim for before giving up.
This test is performed to measure the rats motivation in their quest for survival before giving up.
Once a control test is measured, the rats are placed back into the water after receiving the new drug. If they swim for longer, then it is deemed that there may be some viability to the new drug.
This experiment was taken one step further by scientist John Cryan.
He fed half the mice with Lactobacillus rhamnosus JB – 1, a strand of bacteria known to be good for the gut that is often found in yogurt.
The mice that received the bacteria not only kept swimming for longer with more motivation,
But their blood also contained far fewer stress hormones.
These mice also performed better in memory and learning tests.
All this by adjusting the microbes in the gut.
These findings are an indication of the just how influential the gut could be over the brain.
How your gut influences your brain
The microbes in your gut are like a huge mass of tiny drug factories, pumping out different substances that affect the brain.
For example 80% of the serotonin you produce is actually the chemical offset of certain microbes in your gut.
The serotonin is then transported up the vagus nerve and experienced by the brain.
Serotonin handles mood regulation, sleep and your sense of peace.
So if the microbes that produce serotonin are not present, nothing you do will be able to provide you with the sensation these chemicals produce.
The gut and it’s microbes appear to affect the brain to the extent that pre-clinical trials in rodents suggest that certain microbes have antidepressant and anti-anxiety properties.
One study found that a species of bifidobacterium, had anti-depressant qualities on par with that of an anti-depressant drug called citalopram.
This information about the gut makes you think about the many mental afflictions possibly linked to diet and a disrupted gut microbiome.
Is autism linked to our gut?
The PPA injection provoked peculiar changes in the rats brains like neuro-inflammation, increased oxidative stress and glutathione depletion.
The rats also displayed abnormal movements, repetitive interests, cognitive deficits, and impaired social interactions.
Basically, the results of this injection were very similar to people with autism spectrum disorders.
And coincidentally PPA is a fermentation by-product of bacteria found in the gut. Namely desulfovibrio bacteroidetes and Clostridia.
It was found that patients with autism have many more species of the clostridium bacteria and have high levels of PPA in their feces.
It is estimated that in one third of patients with autism the symptoms don’t show up until 18-24 months of age.
According to Dr Sydney Finegold, antibiotics wipe out or suppress organisms in the gut, but the Clostridia bacteria is one of the ones that persists regardless of antibiotics.
A CBC program titled the autism enigma, featured Ellen Bolty, who explains how her son Andrew’s behaviour changed drastically after 6 courses of antibiotics over a two month period for an ear infection.
After this discovery he was diagnosed with severe autism.
Digging into the research, Ellen came across information about the clostridium bacteria.
She then started searching for a doctor who would be willing to try an antibiotic called vancomycin on Andrew.
Vancomycin, is specifically designed to target the clostridium bacteria. After she finally found a doctor who agreed to test her theory, they tried the antibiotic. This resulted in some very impressive effects.
“The results were astounding, within a matter of just a few weeks. He became calm, he was aware of his environment. He is able to put puzzles together.”
The antibiotic brought out changes in Andrew that were temporary but drastic.
This case led to a pilot study with dr Finegold. Who found that out of ten autistic children who were treated with vancomycin, 8 of them had temporary but significant improvements.
Now jumping to conclusions about the cause of autism, has not been helpful in the past,
But the idea that autism could be the result of the disturbance of the gut is gathering more and more data.
The disturbed gut ecosystem would also explain the common gastrointestinal issues autistic children suffer.
Some estimates are as high as 70% of children with autism spectrum disorder have also experienced gastrointestinal issues.
Autism is just one of the disorders that can be linked to a disruption in gut health.
And research on the gut microbiome is growing quickly.
At this point, saying the gut microbiome is important to health is an understatement.
Dr martin blosser, says that losing the entire microbiome outright, would be nearly as bad as losing your kidneys or liver.’
How to fix your gut microbiome?
Unlike the kidneys or liver, however, you can change the makeup of your microbiome by what you put into your mouth.
Your microbiome is as unique to you as your fingerprint.
And it has developed due to factors such as the environment, whether you were born via a c-section and whether you have been administered any antibiotics.
Your microbiome will be a reflection of those factors.
We can’t choose what kind of start we get microbially speaking,
But we do have control of the single biggest factor when it comes to the make-up and health of our microbiome.
You see microbes are everywhere. And your gut microbiome is constantly changing depending on the food you eat.
Certain foods will feed certain species of bacteria that will either enhance your health, or destroy it.
If you eat lots of highly processed foods and lots of sugar. Your microbiome will soon reflect an imbalance of species that thrive on those foods.
Sending signals to your brain to get more and more of those highly processed sugary foods creates an imbalance in your gut. This escalates cravings to feed this army of harmful microbes that have taken over.
You see the science around what each specific strain of species does is still relatively new. There are just so many different types of species that we just haven’t had the time to track and record all of them.
What we do know is that among healthy individuals there is a complete balance of microbes of around 75% beneficial, and 25% not.
This balance ensures that your immune system always knows what types of bacteria are harmful and to make sure they are kept in check.
“Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.”
Foods for excellent gut health.
I am sure if you are reading this you have heard the terms probiotic and prebiotic foods.
Prebiotic foods, are foods rich in fiber.
Fiber found in plants cannot be digested by the human body. In fact, when we eat fiber we are eating solely for the purpose of energizing our microbes.
You see just like us, our microbes require food for fuel. Other wise they become too weak, and will die, however, not before they cause serious havoc in your gut.
You see microbes that are hungry for fiber and are not getting it will eventually turn on the mucus lining in your intestines for food.
This is a huge problem as that is the barrier that keeps microbes, food particles and waste from entering the bloodstream.
I am sure you have heard the term “Leaky Gut”
Well the name describes exactly what is happening within your gut when all is not well.
As soon as this barrier is damaged you have a doorway for the contents of the gut to begin leaking into the bloodstream.
Which is a huuuge problem!
And is the root cause for some many chronic illnesses we see today.
This spikes inflammation in the body, as the immune system goes on high alert to get rid of whatever has leaked through out of the blood stream.
Leaky gut has been linked to a number of health problems like Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, depression, chronic fatigue syndrome, and virtually every autoimmune disease.
The key to keeping your microbes energized and healthy is to eat a wide variety of fiber rich foods.
And again not just one source of fiber. Variety is the key.
Because not all fiber is equal, certain fibers such as inulin will feed certain microbes. By having only one source of dietary fiber you risk an imbalance, as not all the microbes will be able to consume the single source of fiber you are eating.
The second type of food is probiotics. These are different to pre-biotics as they introduce new colonies and species of bacteria into your gut.
Think of them as helpful reinforcements being sent to help defeat the enemy.
Probiotics come in many different forms, but the best and most cost effective way of getting them, is through fermented foods.
As with fiber, not all fermented foods are made equal. Certain foods will contain different amounts and varieties of microbes to help repopulate your gut.
There are certain ferments that are both a probiotic and prebiotic, meaning they supply your gut with much needed fuel as well as reinforcements of new bacteria strains.
Your microbes are the foundation of your metabolism. Without them we would not be able to survive.
Eating the right foods so that your microbes are healthy will over time bring your overall health into balance.
Your body is a miraculous machine. One that knows how to heal itself. It just needs to be put into the right state of balance first and then the rest will take care of itself.
Getting your gut into balance is the single biggest leap you can do for your overall health, and one that will ensure you are able to live drug free.
If you are interested in cancelling all your prescriptions, firing your doctor and living a quality of life you have always dreamed of.
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