We are not alone! Did you know that we are 10 times more bacteria than we are human? The bacteria that live in (and on us) play a significant role in how our body responds to stress, food, and our environment. In today’s episode, microbiologist Kiran Krishnan helps us gain a clearer understanding of the human microbiome and how it relates to our overall health.
Many health conditions–including skin issues like psoriasis and eczema to diabetes and Chron’s disease, to candida, yeast issues, and even arthritis and cancer–can stem from an imbalance of bacteria in the gut. Kiran explains why popping a probiotic pill is not the solution and he offers refreshingly different suggestions for what to do to improve the health and strength of your own microbiome.
Kiran Krishnan is a research microbiologist who has been studying gut health and the human microbiome for years. In today’s conversation, Kiran helps us gain a new understanding of the human microbiome and how it specifically relates to health and wellness. We are 10 times more bacteria than we are human and the bacteria that live in and on us play a significant role in how our body responds to stress, food and our environment. Our microbes control many of our behaviors and can even influence what we eat. A true understanding of the microbiome is critical to understanding the origins of many chronic and prevalent diseases.
Highlights from the discussion included:
- Thanks to recent research discoveries, we now have a different understanding of the human body. We used to understand it as a system of organs, DNA and chromosomes, but in fact that makes up less than 1% of what we are, the rest of the 99% we’ve been ignoring until recent research
- We now understand that humans are actually a holobiome: a super organism which Kiran compares to a “walking, talking rainforest”
- We are a collection of thousands of different organisms that have to communicate with one another
- We are ten times more bacteria than human, when it comes to the number of cells in our body
- Of the total thirty feet of digestive tract in our body, every few inches is a different ecology—all of which communicate and work together, making the gut “Ground Zero” for the immune system
80% of the immune system is set up in the gut
- The lining of your gut has a nervous system with more nerve endings than in your brain.
- These nerve endings communicate with your brain, affecting mood and food cravings
- We depend upon a healthy gut to make “mood” chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine.
- Leaky gut—scientifically is referred to as barrier dysfunction or intestinal permeability. It is the driver for every chronic illness that we know of.
- Practitioners of traditional medicine don’t study nutrition and therefore do not have an understanding of the gut.
- Drug companies in Europe, Asia and Latin America have been selling prescription-based probiotic medicines since 1958 to take action within the gut.
- By age 2 ½, people have established their own microbiome—they are the most unique things about an individual, and no two people in the world have the same exact microbiome, not even identical twins.
- The best way to repopulate your gut is to eat a diverse diet, which favors the diversity and growth of more and more diverse bacteria.
- A spore-based probiotic, which goes in and acts as “police” in the gut, suppresses bad bacteria, and reduces inflammation and “leakiness” and supports the growth of good bacteria.
Kiran’s talk at the AutismOne conference, May 2016
Kiran recommends the “Just Thrive” probiotics that contain live spores.
The NIH Common Fund Human Microbiome Project (HMP) was established with the mission of generating research resources enabling comprehensive characterization of the human microbiota and analysis of their role in human health and disease. https://commonfund.nih.gov/hmp/overview