The Microbiome

The Microbiome Summit was a couple weekends ago and it was so interesting to learn about the bacteria of the body. Traditionally we have learned that bacteria are bad and we need to wash them off and disinfect with alcohol swabs and hand sanitizer. At the summit, 33 doctors talked about the microbiome and how our bacteria are our greatest allies against disease and sickness. Bacteria are no longer the enemy. Our microbiome controls virtually all aspects of our physiology and we need to learn how to take care of it to our advantage to avoid health problems and perform at our optimum.

 

We have ten times more bacteria cells than human body cells. We are primarily bacteria and according to Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, every disease is caused by not taking care of your microbiome. Dr. Natasha had a child that had Autism and she learned how to help him. Dr. Natasha was a neuroscientist from Russia and realized her practice wasn’t going to cure her child. She noticed all the G.I. problems that people with Autism and other neuro problems had and knew there was a connection. 

 

Dr. Natasha was very well aware of the microbiome and she said she knew it must be the root cause of all these neuro problems she was dealing with. Dr. Natasha started studying the microbiome in the early 90’s and says the microbiome is only new in North America. Dr. Natasha says we are ten percent human body cells and ninety percent different species of bacteria, fungi, worms, protozoa, and a diversity of organisms.

 

Dr. Natasha talked about some of the things that cause a problem for the microbiome and they are the usual suspects, but again, a quick list is: medications, NSAIDs or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (like Tylenol, Advil, Motrin), processed foods, preservatives and flavorings, mercury, pesticides and BPA from plastics, soy, grains, seeds, dairy, GMO foods, and sugar.

 

The one cause of dysbiosis (an imbalance between good and bad bacteria), that Dr. Natasha talked about in particular was antibiotics. After a course of antibiotics, it takes 2 weeks for the beneficial bacteria to recover. However, the bad bacteria have a window of opportunity and after every course of antibiotics there is less and less good bacteria and more pathogens. Bad bacteria creates toxins that go into the bloodstream and cause any number of symptoms depending on the toxin, which in turn depends on the pathogen creating the toxin. Wherever the toxin flows to is where the disease will occur.

 

Dr. Natasha talked about how our flora creates vitamins for us. The B vitamins in particular and vitamin K2 which helps with mineral absorption; calcium in particular. Without vitamin K2 calcium deposits in places we don’t want it, like in the veins, in your brain, bile stones, and kidney stones. The only source for vitamin K2 is your gut flora or a supplement.  Traditionally vitamin K2 comes from fermented foods.

 

Dr. Natasha then talked about Leaky Gut Syndrome. You can read my article on Leaky Gut Syndrome but I’ll give a very brief description. Your gut lining becomes more permeable and the body reacts to food that leaks through the gut wall and causes inflammation. You pull food out of your diet more and more but still just react to more foods. Instead of avoiding food we need to fix the cause which would be the leaky gut.

 

The GAPS Diet

Dr. Natasha developed a concept called GAPS; Gut And Psychology Syndrome. The main focus of the program is the diet which has three parts to it. GAPS diet heals and seals the gut lining; it normalizes the microbiome, and stops the inflammation. 

 

The first step in the GAPS program is to heal and seal the gut lining. You eat soup for breakfast, soup for lunch, and soup for dinner and soup in between. The broth is from meat stock. The muscle is the hardest meat to digest and the least nutritious. Use the gelatinous meats; joints, hooves, head, organs, bones, tripe and all those weird parts to make a soup stock. The glucosamine, vitamins, and minerals are natural as opposed to taking a supplement. The main ingredient here is the collagen.  Our body's connective tissue is made up of mostly collagen and it is hugely lacking in a North American diet.

 

Remove all foods that are difficult to digest and eat all the foods that build up the wall of the gut. The types of vegetables Dr. Natasha mentioned that were good were non-starchy vegetables such as leaks, onions, cabbage, carrots, marrow, and squash. Cellulose is indigestible fibre and starch is 70% indigestible. Beneficial and bad bacteria eat fibre, starch, and sugar; these 3 are out until the gut is healed; around 2 years depending on the person.

 

There are many balances in the body that change all the time depending on all the parameters in a person’s environment. You have to listen to your body to know what you need; desires, sense of smell, taste, and satisfaction. What do you want really bad right now? After you eat it, your body has changed and now you’ll want something different. The last food will be repulsive, but something else will be really good.

 

In the second stage of the program, more foods are added to the diet along with some supplements. Some common second stage supplements are fish oils, vitamin K2, vitamin D, vitamin A, cod liver oil, amino acids, and a probiotic with as many species as possible in it.

 

Little knowledge is more dangerous than no knowledge and some supplements that are supposed to be beneficial can be detrimental to some. Dr. Natasha talked about vitamin D3 and L-glutamine in particular and she said although L-glutamine might be the fix for some, in others it might cause depression or other problems.

 

In the third stage of the program, foods that are hard to digest can be worked in. Dr. Natasha referred to the program like a dance; moving forward, then taking a step back, and moving forward some more, then maybe 2 steps back, and slowly moving forward again until you can move forward without problems.

 

Some of the diseases Dr. Natasha's diet has helped with are Alzheimer’s, autism, Parkinson’s, depression, all kinds of autoimmune diseases and allergies, fibromyalgia, MS, and diabetes. Dr. Natasha believes the microbiome is the root cause and cure of virtually all diseases.

 

Dr. Natasha has trained people personally all over the world with her GAPS program and there are 5 practitioners in Calgary and none in Edmonton. I contacted a GAPS practitioner in Calgary, and have a freezer full of soup bones and animal parts right now. I eat soup regularly and if you are interested in learning more about the GAPS diet, you can contact me and I am more than willing to help out. 

 

I hope you liked the article. If you did, share it with friends. These are the types of issues I deal with daily with my clients in order to accomplish their fitness goals. I believe in a coach like approach and I help guide my clients to do the things they deem relevant for them and they are seeing really great results. For me the reward is the happiness it creates and seeing the new found confidence in people. WOULD YOU LIKE ME TO PERSONALLY SHOW YOU HOW YOU CAN ACHIEVE YOUR FITNESS GOALS ...FOR FREE?

 

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