Gut health is becoming an area of significant interest in the health field. There has always been a general interest in the gut, particularly in the cleansing arena, but there are more reports surfacing about previously unknown or unconsidered roles the gut plays in our overall health.
The importance of the belly is well-known in the East. It plays a primary role in all martial and internal arts. The 'cauldron', 'hara', seat of the soul are just a few names that signify the belly's central role. In the West, the belly was seen as a mostly mechano-chemical place where food was separated into its component parts, distributed and the leftovers eliminated.
More recently, articles pointing to a much expanded role for the belly have been released. ScienceDaily, 17, May, 20111, reported that gut bacteria may play an important role in our emotional makeup as well as our brain chemistry. In the article, Stephen Collins, professor of medicine and associate dean of research, Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, remarks that there appears to be a microbial component to behavioral illnesses. His research was published in the journal Gastroenterology. His and his colleagues research on adult mice discovered that they could change behavior and brain chemistry by changing gut flora. When the guts of mice that were normally passive mice were innoculated with the bacteria from more active 'exploratory' mice, the passive mice become more active. The reverse also was demonstrated. The researchers concluded that further investigation should be undertaken into the positive potential role probiotics might play in behavioral issues.
Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride has been publishing on the subject of gut-influenced behavioral changes for quite some time. The creator of the GAPS diet for the treatment of autism, Dr McBride takes the controversial stance that, in a sense, we are a shell for bacteria - citing research in Scandinavia that 90 percent of all of our cells and genetic material is our gut flora. She has found that abnormal gut flora directly impacts physical, mental and emotional health, particularly in young children and pregnant mothers. When gut flora are out of balance, they generate toxins. These toxins and abnormal microbes make it into the bloodstream and from there into the brain. She is a strong proponent of fermented foods and probiotics to help the gut maintain proper balance.
Dr. Mercola on 27 June 20122, discusses Dr. McBride's research