The Russian Pathologist, E.E. Metchnikoff said in 1900, “Death Begins in The Colon”. The truth is there are over 400 species of microbes in the human intestinal tract totaling over 15 lbs! That’s a mass that exceeds all other organs in the body other than skeletal muscle.

There are more microbes in a human’s intestinal tract than there are stars in the galaxy exceeding all other cells in the body combined. According to Bengmark, “The dominating part of the immune defense, even if flora is excluded, is localized in the gut- no less than 75% of the immune cells of the body are suggested to be found in the GI tract.”

Dysregulation in the intestinal tract or gastrointestinal system can lead to a change in this homeostasis and to an increase in disease states. Whenever you have inflammation present, the tight junctions and intestinal mucosa can become damaged causing gaps or “pores” in the lining of the GI tract. Then toxic byproducts in the digestive tract can be absorbed into the bloodstream and transported on to the liver. The molecules of food and toxins are “leaked” through the GI lining and then eventually they affect systems throughout the body causing inflammation in our joints, expressing toxins in skin disorders, autoimmune conditions, and food sensitivities.

For many years now, probiotic supplements have been helping people’s bellies feel better and function more reliably. One benefit of taking probiotics is to help encourage microbial diversity, especially if the probiotic supplement is of mixed species. In ecological terms, it is more stable to have diverse populations in any ecosystem. The same is true for the microbiome, the ecosystem of microbes in the GI tract. So eating a diverse, plant-based diet to provide a variety of feedstuffs for them as well as us, helps their populations remain balanced and robust.

For healthy gut maintenance, you may think eating your daily Activia has been a good idea. But not that many of us have healthy bowels these days, so we often need more intense “inoculation” with good bugs! You are going to need quite a bit more than that.


Bengmark S. Acute and “chronic” phase reaction- a mother of disease. Clin Nutr, Vol. 23, No. 6, pp. 1256-1266, December 2004

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