The Belly’s Microbiome, Part 1

Tuesday, April 02, 2013 6:15 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

A microbiome, a world teeming with single-celled organisms, a.k.a. bacteria.

Consider yourself endowed with a newly-named organ. You’ve got heart, lungs, kidneys. Now add “microbiome” to the inventory.

The population of microbes in your gut is big. The 100 trillion bacteria in your gut represent ten times the number of cells in your body that pack your personal brand of DNA. Of all the cells you tote around, only 10% are genetically you. The rest are bacteria, as many as 1,000 different species flaunting 3.3 million unique genes. That’s 150 times the number of genes coded into your 46 chromosomes. That’s a lot of adjunct bio-programming power.

Although the number of microbes is huge, as individuals they're tiny. Consequently, your gut microbiome comes in at 1 to 3 percent of your body's mass. A 125-pound adult, for example, is toting between 1.25 and 3.75 pounds of bacteria.

Do not consider eliminating these bacteria for an easy four-pound weight loss. You need them. They're essential to your physical health and mental sanity.

The roster of bacteria in your gut undefined which kinds are present in what proportions undefined depends on factors such as what you eat, which drugs you’ve taken, and how well your immune system is functioning. Depending on the diversity of and balance among your gut-based bacteria, the microbes are busy promoting digestion, making nutrients, secreting enzymes, eliminating infections, influencing mood and behavior.

Mood and behavior? In the summer 2007 issue of the Belly Bulletin, I featured an excerpt from Gut & Psychology Syndrome, the book in which British neurologist and nutritionist Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride reveals the gut microbiome’s influence on the body-mind, especially in relation to childhood autism. She suggests ways to reestablish a healthy population of gut bacteria, largely through a set of food choices that regulate carbohydrates.

A few months after posting the excerpt, I received this news from a reader:
I bought Gut & Psychology Syndrome for a friend whose four-year-old had been diagnosed with autism. He wasn't speaking.

Then, after being on the diet the book recommends for less than a month, he started speaking in complete sentences and making marked improvements in other areas.

Autism is only one of several body-mind disorders that scientists are considering in relation to what’s going on in the gut. The status of your belly-based bacteria may, for example, play a key role in obesity, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, autoimmune diseases, allergies, and metabolic syndrome undefined the collection of risk factors, including insulin resistance, that increase the likelihood of coronary artery disease, stroke, and diabetes.

Future columns will elaborate on your belly's microbiome in relation to your physical and emotional health as well as the possibility of its link to -- guess what? -- an ancient image of the Sacred Feminine.

© 2013 Self-Health Education, Inc.


My workshops flow from my quest for the Sacred Feminine blended with my experience practicing and teaching yoga.

I've been a Kripalu Yoga instructor since 1979. I've also trained as a yoga and bodywork therapist.

From 1981 to 1988, I served on staff at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in Lenox, MA. During this time, I led yoga classes for thousands of guests, conducted a practice in bodywork therapy, designed workshops on many aspects of holistic health, and trained yoga teachers and bodyworkers.

In the course of my continuing yoga studies, I learned how cultures around the world have valued the body's center as sacred. Delving deeper into this subject revealed connections between the body's center and qualities of the soul, the extent of women's power in family and society, and the degree of a culture's reverence for Sacred Feminine.

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~ From Belly Distress to Belly Health~
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    Drawing on ancient wisdom and contemporary practice, we'll attend to our bellies' well-being. We'll engage in experiential learning, energizing the body-mind transformation that supports healing.

    ~ Initiation 2012: Awakening Your Sacred Center, Part One ~
    ( Learn More Here )

    This online course is the first part of an ongoing process through which you embody the Sacred Feminine by energizing your body's center with breath, image, story, and movement.


    (New World Library, 2006) presents what I've learned about the body's center through teaching and research over a period of nearly twenty years.
    My articles on honoring the body's center have appeared in publications including Yoga Journal, SageWoman, Radiance, and Personal Transformation. My workshops have been sponsored by colleges and universities, health education agencies, and holistic learning centers.

    My intention is to provide you an opportunity to delight in the vitality and pleasure, the creativity and confidence, the intuition and sense of purpose that already dwell within and emerge from your body's center. My greatest joy is to offer you ways to discover the Sacred Feminine as she already abides within you.
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