New Study Looks at Ancestor’s Gut Microbiome to Improve Health
A fascinating new study shows our gut microbiome has been experiencing a potentially catastrophic loss of diversity over the last millennium, possibly giving rise to various common chronic diseases. Is it too late to avoid irreversible damage to our health?
While most of us don’t ever think about it, we coexist with over 100 trillion microbes, the majority of which live in our gut and are essential to our health. Though the existence of the microbiome was first recognized in the 1990s, the full understanding of its importance and mechanisms is still in its infancy.
Dr. Alex Kostic is a microbiologist at Harvard Medical School, who has been studying the microbiome as a mediator of disease. “You know, this concept of the microbiome as a community of organisms living on humans and other mammals, and playing an integral role in our physiology really is a new concept, something that people have only been studying for the past 10-15 years or so,” Kostic said. “But what we’ve come to realize, as we study the ecology of all of the microorganisms living on humans, especially in the gut, is that it’s incredibly diverse, and pathogens are really the exception to the rule. Everything else has a lot of other roles that we’re still trying to tap into, but we can be fairly confident that they’re not driving disease in people.”
In their quest for a clear picture of the microbiome, researchers have recently turned to studying its history.
“What’s really gotten me interested in the history of the human microbiome, is this concept of being able to identify, if it exists, a ‘universal ancestral human microbiome,’ something that was common to all of us before the process of industrialization,” Kostic said.
Dr. Bruce Lipton Reacts to New Map of Human Genome
As scientists announce the completion of the human genome map, the emerging science of epigenetics provides an alternate view on how we can gain mastery over our genes and achieve true wellbeing.
Dr. Bruce Lipton is a cellular biologist and leader in the field of epigenetics, which holds that external factors can affect our gene expression.
Lipton’s research over many decades has suggested that it is our environment, and even more importantly how we perceive it, that determines our gene behavior.
“Less than one percent of disease is connected to genes,” Lipton said. “Over 90 percent of illness is stress, which means you’re not living in harmony with the environment, and the function of the cells is to adjust their biology to the environment. But I say, ‘But wait, the brain is the interface between the environment and the genes.’ So, my cells don’t know what the real environment is, my cells only respond to my perception of the environment. Well, positive thoughts can heal you of any disease, that’s placebo (effect).”
“Negative thinking can cause any disease, regardless of what genes you have, because negative thinking through epigenetics can rewrite healthy genes and turn them into cancer. You’re creating the good, but you also have to recognize you are participating in creating the negative things as well,” he said.
The biggest roadblock to exerting a positive influence over our genes, Lipton says, comes from faulty programming.
“All of us got programmed the first seven years of our life. We play the program 95 percent of the day,” Lipton said. “The conscious mind, which is the creator mind, is separate from the subconscious mind, which is the programmed mind. The significance is that subconscious is on autopilot, and if 95 percent of your life is coming from the subconscious, then you are playing programs and you’re not playing creator. The issue is the programs we got in the first seven years, up to 60 percent of those programs are beliefs, they’re things that are disempowering, they’re self-sabotaging, or limiting behaviors, and therefore, we’re losing power in the program that says, ‘Who do you think you are? You don’t deserve that. You’re not that smart.’ These are things we acquired when we were young.”