380 Trillion Viruses Live In Us; How Do We Live Symbiotically With Them?
Interest in the microbiome has been steadily increasing over the past decade or so, and for good reason. The role of our internal ecosystem (gut flora) is one of the greatest scientific discoveries of our times, offering an insight into how we heal, fight off disease, and stay healthy — even in difficult times. In “Immunity and the Microbiome,” microbiologist Compton Rom presents a compelling argument for why we need to pay attention to the ecosystem of good bacteria in our digestive system.
Once we realize the great implications of how remarkable the microbiome within us can make or break our state of health, then we can boost our immunity over viruses, bacteria, and infections.
While the term “immune system” is relatively common in our daily vernacular, Rom does not limit it to the body alone. Rather, he has a holistic vision and ties the health of all life on this planet with the health of the Earth, including global warming, as well as the nature of disease-causing organisms. This holistic approach allows us to appreciate our unique role as conscious beings existing in various ecosystems that need to be recognized and respected.
Rom discusses historical evidence, showing that humans have evolved to live symbiotically with the life not just around us, but within us. This becomes particularly relevant when discussing the role of our virome, or the trillions of viruses and phages that live within our body and its cells. This he says is a major facet in maintaining proper health, by promoting symbiosis with viruses, so they don’t cause disease and illness.
We can optimize our virome and microbiome by introducing probiotic fermented and anti-inflammatory herbs, as well as a diverse diet of fruits and roots, to lower risks of infectious disease. In fact, the bacterial cells within our microbiome outnumber our human cells by tenfold.
Rom suggests our immunity from illness, as well as our relationship with the planet, begins at home. The best place to start our journey to optimum health and ideal immune function is by improving our diets, meditating, doing breathwork, exercising, and most importantly, proactively diversifying our gut microbiomes.
Compton’s philosophy is to take a non-chemical and non-pharmaceutical approach to healing, using natural herbs, and oils to eliminate pathogenic bacteria.
Our bodies, he notes, respond “best to natural compounds that have evolved alongside us for millennia. Synthetic compounds are singular in nature, while whole earth compounds carry numerous micronutrients and co-factors necessary for growth, many of which scientists have yet to discover.
This is why natural compounds are so much more effective. Modern medicine has yet to use them because they are impossible to patent; synthetics can be sold at a much higher profit than naturally derived and sustainably harvested herbs.”
What sets Rom apart from other scientists, including microbiologists and virologists, is that he does not regard bacteria, viruses, and fungi as enemies to be feared. Rather, if we take a holistic approach and see the world as a purposeful, organized, and flowing reality, then we can protect our bodies by strengthening them, rather than by taking a militant course that involves killing microorganisms, using toxic chemicals, and drugging our bodies.
As Regina Meredith aptly explains, healing and disease prevention begins “at the top,” not only with the health of our bodies, but also our states of mind, how we think, and our relationships to our planet and all the beings with whom we share precious resources.ta
The immune system is an evolutionary device. World-renowned biologist Bruce Lipton agrees that it is not completely formed when we’re born and remains in a state of evolution throughout our lifetimes. Thus, it’s what we do on a daily basis that makes the most difference in how we feel and how we stay healthy, regardless of genetics.
The fact that we can determine our own state of health is an exciting and promising notion, and it is the essence of the emerging science of epigenetics. In simplest terms, our leading scientists, such as Lipton and Rom, tell us we can take control not only of our own states of health, but also the stability and richness of our planet, and that the two are inseparable.
Why Do We Sleep? For More Reasons Than You May Think
Most of us spend about a third of our lives asleep, despite not really having an answer to the question, ‘why do we sleep?’ Now neuroscientists are realizing that sleep is more important than previously thought. They’re also realizing that the worn-out platitude, “you can sleep when you die,” is terrible advice, as that day will undoubtedly come sooner if you short yourself on a good night’s sleep.
According to most contemporary research, you should be getting around seven to eight hours of sleep every night, and if you think you can get by on fewer than that, there’s a really good chance you’re fooling yourself.
Why is Sleep Important?
While the exact mechanisms of sleep are still being studied, neuroscientists including Matthew Walker have made interesting learnings about what happens when we deprive ourselves of sleep and the impacts sleep (or lack thereof) has on society as a whole.
When we’re awake, Walker says that essentially, we’re causing low-level brain damage. By this, he is referring to the build-up of the sticky, toxic junk in our brain known as beta-amyloid. This accumulation of beta-amyloid has been found to correspond with the onset of Alzheimer’s, among many other adverse health effects correlated with a lack of sleep.
Sleep is beneficial as more than just a healing function; it also replenishes spent resources and regulates hormone levels that dictate our appetite, cognitive function, and motor skills. The two hormones that dictate whether we are hungry or full, ghrelin and leptin, have been observed to flare up and down, respectively, when we’re sleep deprived. This inevitably leads to an increase in hunger, but even worse, it leads our bodies to crave unhealthy and fattening foods — those heavy on carbs and light on greens. In fact, people who run on four to five hours of sleep per night tend to eat 200-300 more calories per day.
For men, sleep is an important regulator of hormones, most notably testosterone. Sleep-deprived males can have the same virility and strength as a man 10 years their senior. For women, a lack of sleep can lead to a significantly increased risk of breast cancer and drops in immune hormones.
According to Walker, just introducing a single night of just four hours of sleep among a normal eight-hour sleep schedule, can bring about a 70 percent drop in natural cancer-killing cells, the immune assassins that target malignant carcinogens. Every day our bodies produce these cells and others to fend off disease and maintain our health, and while a cat nap might make you feel refreshed, it won’t make up for the loss of these cells.