Medically Speaking, You're Only 10% Human

How Human Are Humans?

Funny thing about human bodies... They're only 10% human! According to the National Institutes of Health, bacteria and fungi are two examples of the microbiome makeup which constitute the remaining 90%.

         Photo courtesy of Well Adjusted™

         Photo courtesy of Well Adjusted™

At this realization, you may experience discomfort, that's natural; whenever you thought you were talking to 1 single human, you were in fact addressing a crowd of between 300 and 1,000 different species.

The fact is, bacteria are everywhere. And we do mean everywhere. From sea to shining sea, to the gulf stream waters and the redwood forests and all that good stuff. And as in nature, bacteria plays an instrumental role in the operation of the human microbiome. Explained by Empowering Neurologist David Perlmutter, MD: "Even though the gut and the ocean are dramatically different environmentally, there is this huge resemblance or concordance of the bacteria that live there." [1]

What's the Microbiome?

  • The collection of microbes that live in and on the human body is known as the microbiota. [2
  • The microbiome refers to the complete set of genes within these microbes. Microbial genes significantly influence how the body operates and even outnumber human genes by a ratio of 100:1. [3
  • Each of us has a unique microbiota and a unique microbiome. The microbes that live in your body are determined by what you’re exposed to and these colonies are constantly in flux. Geography, health status, stress, diet, age, gender, and everything you touch all affect the composition of your microbiota. [4] [5]

And we thought New York City was short on personal space.

And we thought New York City was short on personal space.

Why Do We Care? The Immune System Impact

We care because health begins in the gut. And so does all disease, according to Hippocrates.

All disease begins in the gut.
— Hippocrates, after a lifetime of work

The Gut Microbiota For Health reports that tens of trillions of bacteria (10 times more cells than are in our bodies) and over 3 million microbial genes (150 times the number in our human genome) call our guts their humble homes.

So that's what's with all this hullabaloo about antibiotics? It could be that everyone's concerned because ONE dose of antibiotics may permanently reduce the diversity of your gut bacteria. Could be, right?! Antibiotics kill bad bacteria, but they also kill the good bacteria in the process, which greatly reduces the overall diversity (and therefore, resiliency) of your microbiome. 

ROUGHLY 70% OF OUR IMMUNE CELLS ARE HOUSED IN THE DIGESTIVE SYSTEM. A STRONG DIGESTIVE SYSTEM = A STRONG IMMUNE SYSTEM.

Question: What Else Is In The Gut? Answer: A Second Brain

Astonishingly, neurons populate the linings of our gut. Just as a refresher, those are the same type of nerve cells in the brain (all 100 billion of them). So, with neurons of its own, the gut really has earned the honor of housing a "second brain." 

And according to the Scientific American, it sounds like E.T. is phoning home: "Bacteria in the gut and cells in the brain may stay in touch in several ways. Signals can move along the vagus nerve or be carried by chemical messengers, such as serotonin, and by molecules that travel via the immune system." [6]

ROUGHLY 85% OF YOUR SEROTONIN (THE “FEEL GOOD” OR “HAPPY” HORMONE) IS STORED IN YOUR GUT. HAPPY GUT = HAPPY YOU!

How to Make Your Gut Happy

Your gut is like the Sensitive Sally at the party: If she's not having fun, she'll make it known, and then no one else will be groovin' either. So, understand a few foolproof ways to boost your gut when she's feeling down:

  1. Start with Hors d'oeuvres: Fermented Foods. 

Almost all cultures include fermented foods in their diet. Fermented foods provide probiotics (beneficial bacteria), vitamins and enzymes that help keep your digestive system healthy and free of illness and disease. Overuse of antibiotics, antibacterials and a lack of raw food in the diet literally strips your digestive system of these vital microorganisms and nutrients. Eating fermented food helps to replenish the good bacteria.

  1. Avoid Party Poopers: Instigators of Leaky Guts. 

Refined sugars and grains, conventional (highly processed) meat and dairy, plus certain GMO foods are reliable party poopers. It also pays to be wary of your water: Where does it come from? Does it pass through rusty pipes? Has it been sitting in plastic? Antibiotics can also do a number on your gut — so ask your doc plenty of questions! [7]

  1. Make a Backup Plan: Heal the Intestinal Wall with...

  • Bone Broth; it heals the gut like no other by use of glycine, gelatin, and glutamine

  • Fermentable fibers (sweet potatoes, onion, garlic and bananas) boost beneficial gut bacteria. 

  • Healthy fats like avocado, coconut oil, olive oil, salmon, and humanely raised, grass-fed meats.  [8]

Contact us at FRESH Med NYC to talk more on issues of gut health, such as Probiotics vs. Prebiotics. Act now, and we'll let you bring trillions of (bacterial) guests for no extra charge!