Two Words…GUT FLORA…an increasingly popular topic in emerging research.
New discoveries about the importance of a properly balanced gut microbiome are constantly being made, and researchers are connecting the dots on how it affects our health from a holistic standpoint. So what exactly is “gut flora” or the “gut microbiome”? Our digestive tracts contain tens of trillions of microorganisms, including at least 1000 species of bacteria. In total these microorganisms can weigh over 4 pounds! And a majority of this community of bacteria is unique to each individual person.
The well-known functions of the gut microbiome include digesting certain foods that the stomach is not able to tackle, producing vitamins, launching immunity against other microorganisms, maintaining the intestinal mucosa, and creating a barrier effect with the immune system. There’s also an important connection between gut microbes and the brain. The enteric nervous system (found in the intestinal tract) makes use of more than 30 neurotransmitters. This has implications for anxiety, depression, and possibly even autism.
So obviously this stuff is pretty important to our well-being. But how does the gut flora become unbalanced? The simple answer: inflammation. What researchers have discovered is that certain bacteria have the ability to utilize inflammatory byproducts for their survival. So chronic inflammation can cause these bacteria to proliferate to the point of outweighing other beneficial bacteria, which lack the ability to benefit from inflammation (Scales et al., 2016).
When it comes to gut flora, reducing inflammation is the name of the game. Want to guess two great ways to rapidly reduce inflammation? Whole-body cryotherapy and Photobiomodulation are a great place to start. Three minutes of cold and twenty minutes of relaxation can make a difference with chronic inflammation.
Harness the power of cold.
Scales, B. S., Dickson, R. P., & Huffnagle, G. B. (2016). A tale of two sites: how inflammation can reshape the microbiomes of the gut and lungs. Journal of Leukocyte Biology,100(5), 943-950. doi:10.1189/jlb.3mr0316-106r