Did you know that 90% of the living cells in our body are bacteria? And that only 2% of our DNA is human? Yes, we are literally a community of bacteria, parasites, viruses, and fungi, and most of our DNA comes from our environment, that is, from the microbes that we host in our body.
When we eat, the first person to eat is not us, but our microbes. They are the ones who metabolize vitamins, and antioxidants; they are a complete organism that performs all the tasks that keep our body in balance. They also eliminate the bad guys, like viruses.
Our health depends on the diversity of microbes we have. For example, 80% of our immune system is in our gut, and basically, it is our microbes that have evolved throughout history to perform certain tasks. For this, they expect to receive from nature the right food to fulfill their functions. However, if instead, they receive ultra-processed, genetically modified food loaded with substances that do not come from nature, they cannot break it down, and they become poisoned. We are not only eating sterile food but also toxic.
Within this microbial diversity, we can say that we have the good guys and the bad ones. For example, antibiotics are usually made from yeast, such as penicillin or rifampicin, and in our microbial community, we find that they produce the chemicals they need to eliminate each other, in other words, they create their own antibiotics. The good ones are capable of eliminating the bad ones. Our most powerful microbes are bacteria, which generate small polypeptides called bacteriocins, and these attack viruses. For example, it has been scientifically proven that lactobacilli, which create these bacteriocins, can combat influenza and herpes viruses. Certain bacteria even help us detoxify from heavy metals. We can say that the power to heal ourselves is within us.
So, the problem arises when we have too many bad microbes, creating an imbalance called dysbiosis. How can we restore balance in our community of bacteria? By giving them the right fuel so that the good microbes can properly perform their functions, and this is real food.
A balanced diet, including a good amount of prebiotic fiber and probiotic-rich foods, will help restore balance in the gut. But we not only have a microbiota there but also in our mouth, for example; that's why it's so important to wisely choose our personal care products because, by trying to "disinfect" our mouth with mouthwashes or certain toothpaste full of potent chemicals, we are altering the community of bacteria that live there and are our first defense. The same goes for the microbiota of our skin; because in our eagerness to kill the bad ones, we also eliminate beneficial bacteria from our skin.
If you have any illness or want to prevent diseases or simply want to know exactly how your community of bacteria is doing, I recommend asking your primary care doctor (a functional medicine doctor or naturopath with knowledge on the subject) for a study on your gut microbiota (this is usually a stool test). With this, you can know exactly what the imbalance is, how many good microbes you have versus the bad ones, if you have any hidden infections due to a virus, or if you have a high amount of yeast. You can even find out, for example, why you're not losing weight because there are also bacteria responsible for being overweight.
When we analyze in detail what is happening in our intestines, we can create a personalized plan to restore balance, and with that, we can cut off the root cause of many diseases.