Does this title sound like a significant discovery in the field of human medicine? Is it really true that we now know the reason for medical conditions?
Many contemporary research studies have revealed something very promising—something relatively new.
In the past few years, science has learned more about the influence of inflammation, which is the body’s response to infection, in the human intestines (e.g., the portion of the digestive tract that “functions in digestion and absorption of food and elimination of residual waste…”; Merriam-Webster.com).
This discovery reveals that inflammation affects our body’s human defense system, the system that provides immunity by protecting against disease. When the human defense system is weak and inadequate, many diseases can attack.
Science now understands that inflammation can even cause Alzheimer’s disease or speed up the aging process!
If you say, “This is nothing new,” you’re absolutely right. A thousand years ago, Hippocrates, the father of medicine, said, “All diseases start in the intestines.”
Well, science has recently discovered the possibility that genes from bacteria influence the behavior of human cells, similar to the effects that human genes have on our cells.
Is this new knowledge really a “big” discovery? Yes, it is.
To put it simply, we now know that genes from gut bacteria are a part of our own genetics (i.e., the makeup and phenomena of an organism), and they function the same as human genes. The really big news is that the microbial genes from our intestinal tract share their genes with us.
Basically, this discovery shows the important role food and the microbes in the human intestines plays in our health. Both food and microbes can make us healthy…or they can make us sick. Food can heal us, or it can kill us. Every day, we’re learning more and more about how our physical and mental health depend on the digestion system and all the “good bacteria” in the human gut.
We have trillions of human cells that are conjoined with over 100 trillion microbial cells, and they all function together.
Experts call the human digestive system our second brain. The gastrointestinal tract has the same neurotransmitters, which consist of a chemical substance that causes the transfer of an impulse from one nerve to another nerve, similar to the neurons in brain cells. More importantly, 95% of the neurotransmitter serotonin is located in the gut. Now you know why the gut influences mental health and affects moods, actions, and performance.
What did we learn from this discovery?
We learned that the old saying is right: “Eat your food as if it were your medicine. Otherwise, you’ll have to eat medicine as if it were your food.”