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Good Bacteria, Bad Bacteria

It has been estimated that our bodies are 98% foreign, meaning most of what we are carrying around is bacteria, viruses, yeasts, moulds etc. Our bowels alone carry about 2kg of bacteria and we have over 500 different sub-species of bacteria. It's a competitive environment in there, and also incredibly fragile.

This is the good and the bad of it.

The health of your bowels and specifically your bowel flora, has been shown repeatedly to affect both your physical and mental health. The extensive work done with autistic children suggests that gut dysbiosis (abnormal gut bacteria) can manifest and contribute to dyslexia, dyspraxia, depression, ADHD, allergies, skin conditions and even psychiatric disorders. And this includes adults. As some vitamins, proteins and anti-oxidants are made in the bowels, gut dysbiosis may also predispose you to deficiencies, poor liver function from toxic accumulation, under or overactive immunity, or chronic infections.

Iron-deficient anaemia may in fact reflect an overgrowth of iron-consuming gut bacteria (Actinomyces, Mycobacterium, E. Coli, Corynebacterium spp.) rather than a dietary deficiency.

The oral contraceptive pill (as convenient as it is) not only depletes the body of vitamins and minerals, but has been shown to deplete beneficial gut flora. Poor food choices also feed bacteria and potentially pathogenic yeasts and moulds which naturally reside in the gut. Stress suppresses the 'good bacteria' and allows all the other opportunistic gut microbes to flourish.

So while we might not be suffering from such significant and diagnosable conditions, what if we all can improve our physical and mental health by simply looking after our bowels?

Read the work of Dr Curtis Dohan for digestive abnormalities & schizophrenia; Dr Natasha Campbell-McBridge on the gut & psychology syndrome; Dr William Shaw on Clostridia and neurotoxins.; Dr Nancy O'Hara on learning disabilities and the clinical presentation of autism; and for all of the above the Australian organisation www.mindd.org

If you don't look after your body
where are you going to live?