We are hearing more and more about how the bacteria in our gut controls the many physiological processes throughout our body.
The most profound and compelling is the story about how shifts in bacterial populations may be the silent cause of systemic inflammation that wreaks havoc on our health. We now know that chronic inflammation is the root cause of the chronic diseases that plague over 50 % of adult Americans today.
Just look at the facts about chronic disease in America as noted by the Centers of Disease Control (CDC):
Chronic diseases and conditions—such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and arthritis—are among the most common, costly, and preventable of all health problems.
- As of 2012, about half of all adults—117 million people—had one or more chronic health conditions. One of four adults had two or more chronic health conditions.1
- Seven of the top 10 causes of death in 2010 were chronic diseases. Two of these chronic diseases—heart disease and cancer—together accounted for nearly 48% of all deaths.2
- Obesity is a serious health concern. During 2009–2010, more than one-third of adults, or about 78 million people, were obese (defined as body mass index [BMI] ≥30 kg/m2). Nearly one in five youths aged 2–19 years was obese (BMI ≥95th percentile).3
- Arthritis is the most common cause of disability.4 Of the 53 million adults with a diagnosis of arthritis, more than 22 million say they have trouble with their usual activities because of the condition.5
- Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, lower-limb amputations other than those caused by injury, and new cases of blindness among adults.
What do all of these chronic preventable diseases have in common? Disruption in gut microbial ecology and chronic inflammation. Gut health influences health. Plain and simple. We know this to be true.
Imbalances in gut microbial biodiversity has become the modern plague as we combat superbugs we created through the overuse of antibiotics which also pollute our food supply.
One of my good friends Dr. Robynne Chutkan is advancing the conversation though her book which goes on sale today The Microbiome Solution.
She discusses how the standard Western diet and our super-sanitized lifestyle are starving our friendly gut microbes, depleting the “good bugs” that are crucial for keeping us healthy, and encouraging overgrowth of exactly the wrong types of bacteria. The resulting imbalance makes us vulnerable to a host of autoimmune and chronic health conditions.
Dr. Chutkan is a prominent gastroenterologist who has helped thousands of patients suffering from a disordered microbiome with her comprehensive Live Dirty, Eat Clean plan, designed to remove damaging medications and foods, replace important bacteria that have been lost, and restore health.
- An overview of the “modern microbial disrupters” that are stripping our bodies of their natural protective systems—from medications to hand sanitizers, ingredients in food, agricultural practices, our environments, and more
- Delicious, nourishing recipes that actually encourage the growth of good bacteria
- A list of important questions to ask your doctor if you have been prescribed an antibiotic, and how to protect your gut during a course of treatment
- A guide to choosing the right probiotics and supplements
- Critical information on how to prevent and recover from health conditions like eczema, chronic fatigue syndrome, Crohn’s disease, colitis, IBS, and more
- An introduction to the stool transplant, the next frontier for a severely troubled microbiome
A word of caution about Fecal Microbiota Transplantation (FMT)—a procedure whereby the fecal matter of a donor is infused into a recipient. The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of FBT only for Clostridium difficle infection (CDI) that is refractory to standard medical therapy. This intervention has a cure rate of over 85% as the transplanted microbes outcompete the pathogenic bacterial strains and become members of the recipients gut ecology. There are over 480 patients in 21 case-series with CDI who resolved their symptoms without recurrence after FMT.
The transformation of the gut microbiota by FMT to an improved state is durable—unlike oral ingestion of probiotics whose effectiveness on restoring gut ecology declines following discontinuation.
Naturally, a concern of the FDA is the off label use of FMT However any use of FMT outside of refractory CDI needs to be a research trial registered with www.clinicaltrials.gov and be under the guidance of an internal review board (IRB).
FMT has been utilized in many well-designed experiments published in scientific journals to demonstrate that gut bugs are involved in obesity as lean animals are transformed into overweight ones after receiving feces donated by overweight mice.
Unfortunately, a 32-year old female with recurrent CDI weighing 136 pounds (body mass index [BMI] of 26) prior to FMT gained 34 pounds (BMI 34.5) in over a year’s time after receiving the feces from her 16 year-old overweight daughter as reported in Open Forum Infectious Diseases (OFID).
We all now know that achieving balance in the gut can help promote weight loss. Many have speculated that FMT of stool from a lean host into an obese host will cause weight loss, but that has not been shown in animals and is not recommended for humans to attempt.
Following a gut microbial rebalancing program as described in The Gut Balance Revolution can help you shed those excess pounds.
The best way to achieve total body wellness is by maintaining a healthy inner gut ecology.
To Your Good Health,
- Ward BW, Schiller JS, Goodman RA. Multiple chronic conditions among US adults: a 2012 update. Prev Chronic Dis. 2014;11:130389. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5888/pcd11.130389.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Death and Mortality. NCHS FastStats Web site. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/deaths.htm.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. NCHS Obesity Data. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/factsheets/factsheet_obesity.htm.
- Hootman JM, Brault MW, Helmick CG, Theis KA, Armour BS. Prevalence and most common causes of disability among adults—United States, 2005. 2009;58(16):421-6. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5816a2.htm?s_cid=mm5816a2_e.
- Barbour KE, Helmick CG, Theis KA, et al. Prevalence of doctor-diagnosed arthritis and arthritis-attributable activity limitation—United States, 2010-2012. 2013;62(14):869-73. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6244a1.htm.