Part Two of Conscious Communities – The Gut Microbiome

To continue the discussion on Conscious Communities, this article will be focused on the gut microbiome, a miniature environment as compared to the earth.

Each organ system within the body is delegated with a specific function, an important function for the survival of the organism.  The gut has attracted increased interest over these past few years as people are developing diseases and conditions that are affected by the integrity of this precious system.

Historically, antibiotics were developed to fight certain diseases promoted by bacteria and this was an evolution in medicine.  While these potent medications have been used in human illness, they also became used preventively in animals to support the growth and health of the animals prior to slaughter.

Little was known about the long-term effects of this practice years ago, especially in over-use.  There is now, known research to support limiting the human consumption of antibiotics as well as eradicating use in animals because the delicate balance of bacterial inhabitation is necessary for the health of humans and animals alike.

Take for instance, the following areas of human health and specific strains of probiotic species:

Lactobacillus reuteri NCIMB 30242 significantly increases vitamin D levels.  It is well known that vitamin D deficiency is rampant especially among colder climates where sun exposure is limited.  Vitamin D is important in many areas of health – bones, mood inflammation, auto-immune illness etc.

A combination of two fairly common probiotic bacteria, lactobacillus helviticus and bifidobacterium longum, cause a dramatic reduction in the level of psychological stress.  The level of cortisol, the so-called “stress hormone”. Is much lower in those receiving a placebo.  These “psychobiotics” are known as “living organisms that, when ingested in adequate amounts, produce a health benefit in patients suffering from psychiatric illness.” (David Perlmutter, Neurologist).

SIBO, known as small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, is a very common condition in today’s stress-filled environment.  These bacteria thrive on the standard American diet (SAD diet), alcohol, many medications and especially antibiotics, stress – yes, stress acidifies the body fluids making the body prime for bacterial overgrowth. While two special antibiotics, rifaximin and erythromycin are often used to treat SIBO, it is the overuse of general antibiotics that can again disrupt this delicate internal balance.

We are in a fascinating time in medicine where looking at creating balance is of key importance.  May you take into consideration all facets of your life when creating a “conscious community.”