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Nutritional Anthropology's Bible:
Of Your Gut a Herb Garden (Part I)
in Victorian times, it was the common wisdom that one should empty the
bowels once a day. Instinctively those practical Victorians felt that it
is not good to have toxic waste hanging around in the body. But as time
wore on into the 1920’s those ideas fell out of favor: constipation
seemed to be the natural condition!
anyone who has spent time with tribal societies will be aware that they
defecate frequently and copiously. As early as 1939 the explorer-doctor
Weston Price, MD, observed how such societies enjoyed many health
benefits as a result. In the 1970’s Dr Denis Burkitt reinforced
Price’s work with his own observations on African villagers. For the
first time the colon’s contents were thought of as a living thing:
so, ten years ago, when I first wrote about gut health in my book Natural
Eating, conventional medicine still thought of the colon as a
nuisance. If they thought of the colon’s contents at all, they called
it “excrement” and thought of it as proto-sewage. Our knowledge has
come a long way since then, and it reinforces my insistence on how the
right biomass is a key element in good health. I made a feature of it in
my latest book Deadly Harvest.
Now the evidence is pouring in.
now, scientists had only identified some 500 species of bacteria in our
guts. I had always thought that this is a gross underestimate:
researchers had only been able to count the few species that they knew
how to grow under laboratory conditions. Now Les Dethlefsen PhD at
Stanford University, using ground-breaking DNA techniques, finds that
there are at least 5,000 species of bacteria in the colon – that’s
TEN times as many as previously thought!
Battle of the Bugs
100 TRILLION bacteria inhabit a healthy gut. We now know that the
balance of power between the species is critical. But what have got
today? Bad bugs have invaded and infested the colons of people on the
classic western diet. Right in the heart of our bodies we are harboring
a vicious, evil-doing enemy. What does it take to drive out the hostile
forces and welcome in the good guys? I’ll come on to that later, but
first let us look at some of the latest discoveries about the benefits
that a properly functioning bio-mass brings us.
Next month: I will explain about how the mischief created by bad gut bacteria contributes to inflammatory bowel diseases, autoimmune diseases (like Diabetes type I, asthma and allergies), osteoporosis, cancers and heart disease.