Come to the dark side, Luke.

Come to the dark side, Luke.
Photo credit: Gerry Lauzon

Perhaps you’ve heard that there are good and bad microbes in your intestines.  That’s true.  You may have also heard that the good microbes, known as “probiotics” battle the harmful ones to help keep their numbers under control and keep you healthy.  If so, you’ve heard right.  But, there’s more to the story.  While we depend on probiotics to keep the microbial balance in our gut, according to research by gastroenterologist, Dr. Hiromi Shinya, we now know that about 50% of the microbes in our gut are undecided whether they will be harmful or beneficial.

They’re like the “swing voters” in an election.  They plan to vote and probably will vote, but they haven’t yet decided where their vote belongs.  And, depending on whether we eat healthy or unhealthy meals, whether we eat at regular intervals (every two to three hours), whether we’re experiencing stress, or taking certain medications that kill microbes, these undecided microbes will move to the side of good or evil.  When it comes to our gut health and, indeed our overall health since the gut is the foundation for good health, it is imperative to get the undecided microbes to find their way to the good side.

For those of you who watched the movie Star Wars, it’s like the line “Use the force, Luke.”  Only, in this case there are billions of Lukes that we’re trying to get to come to the side of good and reject the dark side.  While that may sound a bit scary it’s actually empowering.  It means that we have a significant amount of control over our health.  By making healthy dietary and lifestyle choices, along with sending in probiotic reinforcements in the form of probiotic supplements, we can sway the intermediate bacteria to our side.

Unlike in Las Vegas in which “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” when it comes to the intestines, what happens there doesn’t stay there.What happens in your gut plays a significant role in the health of your whole body.  That’s because the intestines have many essential functions to great health:

  • They eliminate waste products so they won’t intoxicate your body;
  • They are the site of nutrient absorption from your food and supplements directly into your bloodstream where these nutrients become the building blocks of every cell, tissue, and organ;
  • They determine whether you will experience inflammation or not, in any part of your body because most inflammation starts in the intestines;
  • They are the site of a significant portion of your immune system which helps to keep you strong and healthy; and
  • So much more.

When it comes to your health, I tell people “what happens in our intestines determines much of the health of your whole body.”  So how do you move the “swing voters” to the side of good?  Eat a healthy diet with lots of vegetables, exercise (even walking more counts), and supplement your diet with a good quality probiotic supplement.

Michelle Schoffro CookMichelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM, ROHP is an international best-selling and 17-time book author and doctor of natural medicine, whose books include: 60 Seconds to Slim, Weekend Wonder Detox, The Ultimate pH Solution, and Healing Recipes. She is the publisher of the free e-magazine World’s Healthiest News. Subscribe to receive health news, tips, recipes and more. Follow her on Twitter @mschoffrocook and Facebook. Learn more about her work on her website