You are a Superorganism – Part Three

In last month’s blog we defined the microbiome and how it affects our health and its relationship to noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). To read last month’s article go to www.georgetownmarket.com/you-are-a-superorganism-part-two/. This month I will discuss the six prime factors that cause NCDs along with the four pillars of NCDs, the role of precision medicine and analyzing the microbiome.

There are six prime factors why more and more people grow up with deficient or damaged microbiome resulting in life changing NCDs. The factors are antibiotic overreach, diet, urbanization, birth delivery mode, misdirected efforts at human safety, and mammalian-only human medicines. Antibiotics are clearly used excessively, and in many cases, inappropriately. The use of antibiotics in animal feed has a profound effect in humans. The cost to your health is high. One round of antibiotics can damage your microbiome. Consuming processed food has a profound effect on the microbiome.  Eating fermented foods is very rare today compared to our ancestors. Urbanization has led to more people living closer together, air pollution elevates systemic inflammation, lowers immunity and contributes to obesity. Birth by cesarean section vs vaginal delivery is a significant factor affecting the baby’s microbiome and later NCDs in life.  Efforts affecting human safety such as the use of chemicals and drugs are major factors in NCDs. Asbestos, lead, flame-retardant chemicals, bisphenol A and phthalates, and glyphosates are prime examples that affect our microbiome. Modern medicine focuses only on the mammalian part of humans and ignores our microbial partners.

The four pillars of NCDs are 1) NCDs get programmed in early life; 2) uncontrolled inflammation; 3) having one NCD increases the chances of having one or more NCDs and 4) microbiome status affects the risk of NCDs and determines the effectiveness of drug therapies.  Precision medicine is needed because it will treat your microbiome, not just symptoms.  It will be personalized to the individual, life stage, sex and ancestry.   By analyzing the microbiome it will be possible to break the stranglehold of certain NCDs and/or prevent the emergence of NCDs. Microbiome analysis is in its infancy and will become more available. Currently it involves fecal, skin and other site analyses of our microbial mix.

Now more than ever is the importance of your microbiome and gut health. Next month I will discuss how to achieve a better microbiome balance which includes probiotics. Please direct questions or comments to rickATgeorgetownmarket.com.

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