By Karen Molard
Naturopathic Health Practitioner
From the day of birth, when the intestine of the newborn is seeded by the flora of his mother during the passage through the natural channels, to the day of his death, the health of the human being is largely dependent on his intestinal terrain.
All traditional medicines consider the good condition of the intestine to be co-responsible for our health. The ancients followed the transit with great interest and often used colonic irrigation methods in Greece, rectal showers with abdominal massage in India or regulating plants in China.
Let us remember, moreover, that our daily "How are you?" is a shortening of the medieval formula "Are you going well...to the bowel?"
The intestinal flora is made up of 100,000 billion bacteria, 10 times more than the number of cells in the body. There are no less than 400 families of bacteria in our precious but unstable intestinal ecosystem.
The flora of healthy adult men and women is composed mainly of anaerobic bacteria (which do not need oxygen) and lactic acid bacteria (a term related to the lactic acid produced by these bacteria, not to milk), constituting the commensal flora. But these 100,000 billion cells must be well nourished but also protected and carefully maintained.
The intestines are related to a large number of health factors :
- The good and complete digestion and assimilation of food
- The elimination of digestive and biliary waste
- The synthesis of vitamins (especially B and K)
- The permanent detoxification of the food bowl by the neutralization of the ingested toxic products
- The acid/base balance of the soil
- The correct assimilation of certain plant hormones (phyto-oestrogens in particular)
- The barrier effect essential to our immunity
- The inhibition of the development of fungi and pathogenic bacteria
On the other hand, intestinal disturbances can generate :
- Vitamin deficiencies
- Weight gain
- Vascular difficulties
- Chronic acidosis and premature aging
- Weakening of the natural defenses
- A weakening of the intestinal mucosa starting with a chronic inflammatory state that can lead to cancer
- A self-poisoning generating inflammatory states (ite affections, rheumatism, sciatica...), various infections and migratory in the various systems of the body
- Local disorders of varying severity - from constipation to Crohn's disease and autoimmune pathologies
- Chronic fatigue
- Mood disorders
- Weakening of the liver (the liver is involved in several hundred functions!)
- Various allergic responses (asthma, eczema, hay fever...)
The causes of the degradation of the flora are multifactorial, but the nutritional factors have a dominating role to play.
Let's mention the systematic refining of cereals by eliminating the fibers that are essential for the transit and the drainage of toxins, not to mention the depletion of our national baguette in vitamins and minerals.
But also abusive, clumsy or systematic cooking by destroying vitamins and enzymes; the abuse of animal proteins more conducive to the maintenance of putrescence of the left colon and supplying uric acid overloads in particular without forgetting that of cow's milk products generally allergenic and which leads to an abnormal porosity of the intestine which can cause an outbreak of auto-immune diseases.
Regular intake of gluten, a protein found in cereals (rye, oats, wheat, barley, etc.) which, when cooked and not accompanied by vitamins E and B, has the unfortunate habit of sticking to the intestinal mucosa and slowing down transit. Professor Seignalet, as an eminent immunologist, was able to demonstrate how much the intestinal mucous membrane could suffer from permeability disorders, thus opening the passage to poorly degraded proteins in the bloodstream. This results not only in various allergies or food intolerances, but also in autoimmune, degenerative or cancerous pathologies.
And then a food generally impoverished, irradiated, intoxicated by pesticides, herbicides, nitrates, fungicides... in a word, unfit to cover the nutritional needs of any normally constituted human being.
Other factors to be mentioned are :
- Abuse of alcohol, stimulants
- Medication factors (antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, sulphonamides, laxatives, etc.)
- Sedentary lifestyle
However, isn't it common to pay more attention to the oil changes of one's car engine than to one's own evacuation transit?
Taking care of one's intestinal flora also means regularly reseeding it by taking probiotics, which are numerous and varied, and should therefore be advised by a health practitioner who will take into account the physiological context of the patient.
But we reseed our country septic tank much more often than our own intestinal flora...
YES, everything starts in the intestines; taking care of them is the first step towards our Health, our globality. This will undoubtedly imply a progressive and adapted dietary reform, an empowerment as to our relationship to ourselves, to others, to our environment which is finally only the external representation of what happens inside of us...
An awareness that is one more step towards greater wisdom because, as Buddha would have said, "The wise man is the one who goes well from the gut."
Karen Molard is a Naturopathic Health Practitioner, speaker, consultant and educator. Her 1st book is in preparation; the title is "La Responsabilité d'Être". She practices in Morbihan in Brittany (France).
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