They live in symbiosis with the human body and are key in maintaining gut health, contributing to digestion, nutrient absorption, vitamin synthesis, in keeping the body protected from foreign invaders and protecting it against infection.
These are busy little "bugs" with a highly complex job that is being disrupted by the demands of a fast-paced world, the toxins in our food and environment, and the reckless use of antibiotics.
Suffice to say, if you're coming to see me with a health condition, be sure that I'll be checking the health of you digestive track.
And yes, I'm all for keeping your gut happy and strong with natural aids. Fermented foods, bone broths, kefir, probiotics, prebiotics, fatty acids, glutamine, vitamins D3 and A are usually great examples.
But we usually turn a blind eye to something even more basic -- our emotional health and lifestyle.
Often what caused the problem in the first place.
It's true that here are predispositions. A baby born from C-section or who wasn't breastfed missed the "injection" of good bacteria from the mum's cervix and the antibodies from her milk. Repercussions can last a lifetime.
BUT -- they don't condemn you. They ask you to be more careful with your diet, your emotional self-management and your way of life.
Because the gut's best friend swims in the chemical soup of your emotions.
Make no mistake. What you feel has the power to give you a happy gut or one that's invaded by fungus, leaking all over the place with particles that were never meant to be outside the intestinal walls and are now inflaming your body.
By the way, I'm not simply jotting down conditions. The connection between poor gut health and health symptoms is very well researched.
But beyond the supplements, the healing foods, even the gut-friendly diet, course correcting your lifestyle, learning to self regulate and manage your emotions are not only your most powerful healers, but your greatest assets.
If this is true, why don't we all do it?
Because the solution is too simple. Notice I didn't say easy.
We're expecting complex interventions that usually involve pharmaceuticals and supplements.
But more importantly, it takes effort. It's easier to reach for a box of cookies than it is to investigate what we're really hungry for. It's easier to gobble our meals in 5 minutes than it is to acknowledge the mind trap of "I don't have time."
Being busy 24/7 is the new black. It has become trendy, sexy... and insidious.
But we can't fool our body's biology. And that biology determines that stress bulldozes your digestion, it shackles your immune system and sends your brain to war.
Stress goes beyond having a fight with your sweetheart or being told off by the boss.
Self judging thoughts, a Truth we haven't disclosed, an emotion, situation or experience we haven't been able to "metabolize." These are all triggers the body interprets as being under attack.
This gives me a pause.
The psyche is complex and turns an emotional hurt into a health symptom. Our job is to be the translator.
Yes, take the supplements and clean up your diet. These steps can be life saving.
But the other half of your healing calls for a growth in life and in character. One where you learn about yourself and how you do life. One where you investigate who you have been and the person you plan to become.
There is a deep wisdom to the "gut feeling" expression, you see.
The gut and the brain are connected by an extensive network of nerves that send feedback in both directions.
A health symptom or a mood disorder call us to take responsibility -- for our bodies and our lives.
Yes, go get help. From a doctor, a coach, a nutritionist, a therapist, a friend. Talk to some, or all of us.
AND -- stay present to your life. Because only you can for forge the path ahead, become masterful at understanding your body's messages and adjust your lifestyle accordingly.
Don't you think?
Find out more about Catarina's work on her website.