According to Dr. Mark Pettus, the Associate Dean at U Mass Medical School, our health model is changing and the goal of the functional medical community is to explore how we have lost our microbiome diversity. The human Microbiome Project, American Gut Project and U Biome are research organizations that have discovered that 99% of our genome comes from our microbiome.
When there are problems in the gut, we experience weight gain, asthma, autoimmune diseases, RA, Hashi-Moto, arthritis, metabolic bone disease, eczema, mood disorders, depression, anxiety, cancer and Alzheimer’s. All of these diseases are linked to a lack of diversity of the microbiome. This explains why there has been a profound increase in chronic disease and inflammation.
The behavioral health world has also discovered that most of our neurotransmitters are located in our gut, thus, the gut is an active neurological organ. Depressions, anxiety, autism, PTSD are all linked to the gut health of an individual.
As you can see, the microbiome plays a fundamental role in human health; our environment changes the way that our genes express themselves. So what can do to change our microbiome? The” Good Gut” book by Justin and Erica Sonnenberg looks at the modern human microbiome and suggests ways to improve it. If we look at tribes in Africa, their microbiome is much more diverse because these cultures follow a primarily plant based diet, where they ingest anywhere from 80-100 grams per day of fermentable fiber. The typical American diet ingests only 5-10 grams per day.
We can change our microbiome by avoiding carbohydrate dense food, antibiotics, refined and processed foods and glyphosates. Glyphosate residue disrupts microbial activity and interferes with the production of serotonin and dopamine. Fiber serves as a fuel for the microbiome, especially fermentable fiber. We want to decrease consumption of grains that are high in gluten, eat only non-GMO, hormone free, antibiotic free food. At the same time, increase your consumption of pre- biotic rich foods such as apples, asparagus, bananas, garlic, kiwi, onions and chicory.
For a closer look into your own gut health, you can work with a functional medicine doctor who will do microbiome testing.
Here’s to your gut health!
BA Psychology/Sports Nutrition
Food as Medicine