When we hear the word bacteria many of us instinctively think yuck, dirty, bad.
But actually, the 1.5 – 2 kilos – about three to five pounds – of microbiota (bacteria and other microorganisms) living in our gut and all over us, are good and vital for us.
Our gut’s “inhabitants” are responsible for supporting the digestion of what we eat, for helping with the production of some vitamins, for warding off dangerous, intrusive microorganisms (the “bad” bacteria) that can cause serious illness, and they are connected to obesity and skin conditions, just to name a few of their functions.
A newborn’s digestive system, which is sterile before birth, is quickly colonized by microorganisms from the mother (vaginal, faecal, skin, breast, etc.), the environment, the air etc. From the third day, the composition of baby’s intestinal microbiota is dependent on its food.
And here is the hottest stuff about our gut bugs, the gut-brain connection:
++ There is increasing evidence that intestinal bacteria play a major role in brain chemistry and mental health, in influencing our mood and our feelings, and they have even found to be connected to hyperactivity and autism;
++ The intake of probiotic foods or supplements has shown to improve mood and may even be effective in treating anxiety and depression;
++ FMT – fecal microbiota transplantation (yes, the transplantation of poop!), which is currently used to treat life threatening infections, may also prove to be an effective treatment for emotional and mental disorders.
The way to a happy heart is through your gut.