No one wants a big belly or love handles. We can eat right and exercise, but sometimes these are just unwanted gifts we inherit from our parents. What lurks underneath those bellies, and what is literally inside of us can be of even more concern. Knowing who we are and where we come from is important on many levels.
Genetic testing has become commonplace. Now people can simply open their mailbox and discover not only their family heritage and lineage but also any potential health issues that might be passed from one family member to the next. Family photos are evidence of the physical attributes that are passed down from generation to generation. What might also come to light through this testing are the specific maladies and diseases our relatives have had, and that might be lurking in our own, genetic makeup.
Researchers now estimate that more than 10,000 microbial species occupy the human ecosystem. This is known collectively as the gut microbiota (also known as the microbiome), and these organisms not only affect human health, they define it. So the question is, is the human gut microbiota something that is shaped by genetics or the environment?
In her book Gut And Psychology Syndrome, Natasha Campbell-McBride has discovered that children dealing with such ailments as asthma, eczema, allergies and even ADHD/ADD and autism all have digestive abnormalities. GAPS patients and people with abnormal gut flora have multiple nutritional deficiencies due to a number of factors including inflamed and very sensitive gut lining. She says that the damage gets passed from generation to generation, so you may actually have your Daddy’s gut.
Researchers have been putting a great deal of focus on studying the gut microbiota. They want to determine what impact its balance or imbalance has on conditions ranging from depression to cancers. Whatever we put into our bodies has a huge impact on our health. Food and supplements are not only our first line of defense but also our medicine. We obviously have control over our own diets. The more we know and understand the impact of certain food groups, nutrients and supplements on our bodies, the better off we will be.
Knowledge is not only power, but it can also be the great healer. When it comes to the environment and our surroundings, there are times when we are exposed to a variety of things that are out of our control. Genetics play a factor in our gut health, but according to some new studies, the environment plays a much bigger factor. And this is potentially good news because we can change our environment, both externally and internally. Probiotics change us from the inside.
In a 2018 study entitled “Environment Dominates Over Host Genetics In Shaping Human Gut Microbiota,” Eran Segal said: “We’re not saying that genetics have no effect on the microbiome, but that effect seems to be very small.” The study found significant similarities in the compositions of the microbiota of genetically unrelated individuals who share a household, and that over 20% of the variability of a person’s microbiota is associated with factors related to diet, drugs and other measurements. The gut data also improved predictions for many human traits like glucose and obesity. In other words, what we are exposed to, as far as what goes in our bodies (food, medicine, etc.) and what is around us, has a major impact.
Jack Gilbert is a microbiologist at the University of Chicago, and while he was not involved in the above study, he believes that environment has a much bigger role on the microbiota than genetics and “that the environment is playing a much more fundamental role in influencing disease onset and disease progression than genetics is.” This idea is leading many in the field to explore the use of probiotics in the diet to promote health.
If it is nature and the environment that has the most impact and effect on our gut, then we can take measures to change that environment, protect ourselves, and improve our microbial makeup. The use of probiotics can be used to augment our current environment. Diverse and balanced gut microbiota is so very important to human health and is key to an overall health strategy.
Though we may, in fact, inherit our guts and other physical traits from our parents, we can now take positive steps to deal with the effects of external forces. Probiotics offer the opportunity to re-balance and counteract the damage caused by medicines we take every day, and what may arise as the external environment impacts our internal environment. While there will always be things out of our control, we can be proactive and take some control back with probiotics. Natren has a full range of probiotic products that provide some health benefits to help you achieve optimal health and well-being. Read, learn more and purchase the top of the line probiotic supplements at www.natren.com.