A post in The Guardian today includes the news that gut bacteria may influence bowel cancer risk. How confusing! For years we’ve been taught that cancer starts with genetic mutations. So how can bacteria be involved?
In attempting to explain the importance of gut flora, I often ask people to imagine themselves as an outside-in planet.
Your digestive tract is densely populated with micro-organisms in a similar way to humans on the face of the earth, though the scale is somewhat different. While there are billions of humans on Planet Earth, there are trillions of bugs inside you – about ten times as many critters as you have cells, all eking out a living on you and from you. And, if you play your cards right, they have plenty to give you in return.
The idea of a leaky gut has always struck me as rather amusing, it’s such a funny name, but if you are a sufferer you won’t be laughing. Most of us go through periods of poor digestive function, often linked to stress and illness, but prolonged poor digestion will put you at risk of leaky gut, and that can have profound effects on your long term health. Continue reading