Have you ever thought, "I could cure my mind by getting my stomach in order?" Probably not. But a growing body of research is teaching us that gut health and intestinal flora may help explain and be the key to fixing psychological disorders. It could mean that better bacteria might make you become a better student, business person, wife, husband, athlete, speaker, or a happier, better human.
Though you have about a trillion cells making up your body, you have about 100 trillion bacteria. In fact, we are more "other biological creature" than we are ourselves. So, giving short shrift to caring for your microbial makeup will lead to some unhealthy living. More and more research efforts are aimed at uncovering the clear role that our microbes play in everything we encounter biologically, including cancer. Now, we are launching into the effect these critters have on our minds.
Want to be smarter, more powerful, less anxious, more dominant? Take a probiotic. Stop eating inflammatory foods. Maybe get a poop transplant. It sounds crazy. However, that is precisely what several teams have been working on. The last option, scientifically termed fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT), has already been in extremely experimental medicine in hopes of curing a variety of diseases. However, recently researchers at McMaster University in Ontario confirmed that FMT even alters brain chemistry and behavior. Basically, when you take the intestinal flora from fearless mice and give it to anxious mice, the anxious mice become fearless.
The discovery isn't that shocking really, as the developing field of neurogastroenterology has already found a great number of our feelings and emotions originate in the gut, not the brain. Our post-enlightenment ideal of a pure machine of 1s and 0s sitting inside our skulls is simply not accurate. And Dr. Michael Gershon wrote "The Second Brain" in 1998 to let us all know it.
As you ponder what all this could mean, you may be wondering how exactly you change your own gut bacteria in order to become all you can be. Unfortunately, that answer is not entirely clear, yet. A few teams, like Ubiome, are working on mapping out gut bacteria in order to find the correlations between disease pathology, personality characteristics and specific strains of flora. But it's a long process. One day we may be able to select all the specific strains which make us live longer, healthier, less stressful and better lives and deselect the opposing ones.
In the meantime, what you can do is try to take as good care of your second brain as possible in three simple ways:
1.) Don't destroy your gut
- limit or eliminate all the offenders which irritate or damage gut lining and bacteria (this includes most grains)
2.) Rebuild your gut
- grassfed butter or ghee contains a compound which is uniquely productive for reducing pathogenic gut bacteria while engendering the growth of beneficial bacteria
3.) Repopulate your gut properly
- unfortunately, the strain of probiotic does matter a lot (far more than the count); and this is a complex subject which is not well-known or understood by even the most advanced nutritionists and medical practitioners; as already indicated in the article, each bacterium species and even subspecies is unique and acts differently in your body and interacts differently with other bacteria
- the short explanation is to avoid yogurt (i.e. - many fermented foods contain bacteria which paradoxically enough increase histamines and inflammation in the body, potentially even increasing your risk of certain cancers) and ensure that whatever supplement you do take includes these three: Lactobacillus plantarum, Bifidobacterium infantis, and Bifidobacterium longum (unless you plan on learning all the intricacies of microbiological bacteriology and dozens of different strains, just memorize "long infant plants" to remember these three for checking labels)