The human microbiome and autoimmune disease
The occurrence of autoimmune and degenerative diseases is on the rise. This has been of particular interest to me because I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease six months ago. In the process of reclaiming my health and exploring my medical history, I have discovered some very interesting connections between autoimmune disease, antibiotics, the gut flora, vitamin D and the nutrient boron.
The death rate from infectious disease has declined in the industrialized world during the last hundred years, but degenerative and autoimmune disease has increased exponentially — cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children under the age of 15.
And there is a direct correlation between the number of autoimmune cases and the rate of antibiotic/vaccination use. Countries like the U.S., that use the greatest amount of pharmaceuticals (antibiotics and vaccines) have the highest rates of autoimmune disease.
Has the heavy use of antibiotics contributed to our declining health? It seems the answer may be connected to the ecological system of microbes that inhabit our gut — a system scientists now refer to as the human microbiome.
What is the human microbiome and why is it so critical? The average human body is host to about 700 trillion bacteria and over 1,000 different species. A human body contains 70 trillion cells on average. In this sense, we could say that we are more bacteria than human. We have co-evolved with our microbiome forming an intricate symbiosis of interconnecting relationships that sustain our well-being. The bacteria in our gut harvest energy from our diet, protect us against infections, exchange information with the immune system, and synthesize nutrients for our bodies. Our body understands the major role the gut has on our health and concentrates over 70 percent of our immune system within 1 inch of the intestines.
Research is now supporting that our microbiome influences brain development and even behavior. One study shows that serotonin and dopamine are regulated by colonizing gut bacteria and these substances, that are often related to mental well-being and depression, don’t develop normally in unhealthy guts. Obesity has also been linked to unhealthy guts (those lacking the necessary diversity of beneficial bacteria).
What kills or causes imbalance in the gut flora? Number one are antibiotics because they sterilize the gut and dramatically alter its ecology. When a primary infection is treated with antibiotics, a secondary infection often results and an overgrowth of the yeast Candida occurs. Consumption of processed food that is low in fiber and high in sugar also contributes to an imbalance in intestinal flora. Stress has proven to cause changes in the number of gut microorganisms and their composition and diversity.
How do we maintain a healthy microbiome? Consuming cultured dairy products and fermented vegetables is a major contributor to maintaining your gut ecology. Fermenting vegetables grown locally ensures that local, indigenous strains of bacteria are added to your intestinal ecology. Shop local, think local, and eat local.
Scientists have now found that the vitamin D is a key player for gut bacteria. Besides our skin, a main receptor site of Vitamin D is our gut. So not only is Vitamin D key to a normal healthy gut flora, but deficiency of Vitamin D may be linked to an imbalanced gut in the first place. Supplementation is therefore not as effective unless your gut is in good condition.
This is where boron comes into play. It is deficient in most soils due to industrial agriculture and is critical to the health of the human body. Boron influences the metabolic activity of numerous enzymes, including those that metabolize vitamin D, magnesium, and calcium. Because of this influence, boron is a necessary cofactor to the body’s proper utilization of vitamin D. Therefore, people with low vitamin D are probably not getting enough boron in their modern, nutrient-poor diet.
In addition to its role in vitamin D synthesis, boron has also been clinically shown to boost testosterone levels in men, help normalize hormonal levels in women, remove fluoride salts from the body, and de-calcify the pineal gland. Boron wears many hats in the body and supplementing the diet with boron can be extremely beneficial. I am currently taking 9 mg of boron daily in the form of calcium fructoborate.
If we are to reclaim our health and ultimately our sovereignty as a people, we must learn to educate ourselves, make healthy choices, and start listening more closely to what our guts are telling us!
For full article see: www.taosnews.com