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Why "Gut Bacteria" is Not a Dirty Word

June 14, 2011

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Ever since you were born, your body has played host to millions of bacteria. In fact, the bacteria actually out number the amount of human cells in your body.  But don’t worry, this is a good thing! Our bodies need all of the good bacteria to keep our digestive systems healthy and to fight off any bad bacteria that may threaten us.

The bacteria that are found in our bodies vary from person to person. Up until recently, it was thought that environmental factors were the main cause when it comes to the type of bacteria that builds up in our system. For example, a baby born in Tokyo, Japan, is raised in a big city and eats a lot of fish will have very different bacteria compared to a baby who is raised on a farm in Kansas and has a diet high in dairy.

Now, scientists are beginning to find evidence that bacteria eco-systems in our body are one of three types. According to an article from NPR, all three bacteria types can be found in any part of the world and are not dependent at all on environmental factors, similar to the four human blood types. Just as a person’s body with type A blood rejects type B blood, a body with a type 1 bacteria eco system will reject any bacteria from a type two eco system.

Integrative Nutrition guest teacher, Dr. Mark Hyman teaches “UltraWellness” which focuses on keeping all aspects of the body well and in balance to avoid illness. Dr. Hyman gives a lesson in Gut and Digestive Health in his 7 Keys to Ultra Wellness.

If this new idea proves to be true, keeping the balance of bacteria in our bodies will start to become easier as the three bacteria eco systems are identified.  Instead of pumping our bodies with antibiotics when we are fighting off an illness, we can replenish the type of bacteria that our body needs to stay healthy.

The same goes for diet. It could be that one type of bacteria eco system does not process gluten well, therefore we would know that people who have that type of eco-system need to be on a higher protein or plant based diet and eliminate gluten in order to feel their best. This is similar to the blood-type diet, one of the many dietary theories that we discuss in our Health Coach Training Program.

While studies discovering the existence and characteristics of various bacteria eco-systems in the gut are interesting and somewhat enlightening, when you listen to your body, it will tell you what it needs. Gut and digestive health are great indicators of when the total body is out of balance.

What is your gut telling you?