In the health food industry, we’re often looking for ways to restore gut health. Why? “Maintaining gut balance is increasingly being shown to be vital to overall health, as a majority of the immune system is in the gastrointestinal tract,” says Dr. Bush, co-founder of Biomic Sciences (producer of RESTORE) and board-certified doctor in internal medicine, endocrinology, and metabolism.
While conversations of gut health are often aimed towards adults – particularly those with digestive issues – recent research has brought to light the importance of a healthy gut microbiome from the time we are children. Research from many university groups around the globe suggests that genomic, autoimmune, and neurologic disruptions are resulting from the rapid reduction in microbiome diversity in younger generations. We caught up with Dr. Bush and the experts at Biomic Sciences to help illuminate current research in the field of children’s gut health.
How do we create a healthy gut microbiome in children?
At birth, the intestinal barrier as well as the immune system that lies just beyond this barrier, are functionally and structurally immature. The foundation of a healthy gut is first laid through the colonization of the infant’s skin, nose, ears, eyes, and mouth with mom’s microbiome that is passed on during the infant’s transit through the vaginal canal, then through breast feeding and skin-to-skin nurture. Supplementation with pre- and probiotics may further enhance the development of a healthy system.
Yet many factors can disrupt the path to a healthy biome: cesarean deliveries, formula feeding, over-use of antibiotics, limited contact with nature, and psychological and physical stress, to name a few. The 26 million pounds of Roundup that are sprayed every year in schools, parks, playgrounds, and gardens are thought to further impair gut function.
What type of symptoms are seen in children with unhealthy intestinal function?
We have witnessed extraordinary epidemics in childhood chronic diseases with some surveys now showing as many as 46% of American children having a chronic disease. The conditions that are becoming prevalent today reflect damage to every organ system in the body: autism, depression and anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, food allergies and sensitivities, environmental allergies, metabolic challenges, abnormal reproductive development, diabetes, autoimmune conditions, and cancer.
Our group of scientists and many others around the world are increasingly recognizing that the root cause of this health collapse lies in the “soil” of the human body: the microbiome. Bacteria, fungi, parasites, yeasts, and viruses that live in every nook and cranny of our body seem to be collectively responsible for the provision of the life-giving nutrients that our bodies need to function properly.
What is the Gut-Brain Axis?
The Gut-Brain Axis is comprised of three systems: the intestinal barrier and immune system, the endocrine (hormone producing cells) system, and the nervous system which includes the enteric, parasympathetic (relaxation, digestion, metabolism), and sympathetic (fight or flight). Approximately 15% of this intestinal lining is composed of enteric endocrine cells, which produce over 90% of the serotonin and over 50% of the dopamine neurotransmitters. The brain does not produce its own neurotransmitters, the gut does!
Perhaps even more remarkably, it has been shown that these enteric endocrine cells only produce neurotransmitters if the correct species of bacteria are present on the surface of these cells. In light of this new data, it is not surprising that damage to the microbiome is commonly associated with neurologic diseases such as autism, depression, and anxiety.
What do we know going forward?
A diverse microbiome can support the intestinal barrier and reduce barrier dysfunction in physical and psychological stress experiments. Our research laboratories at Biomic Sciences have been working to explain the connection between the loss of the microbiome and the increase in gut and blood/brain dysfunction (leaky gut and leaky brain) which has now been recognized to be a primary pathway to many chronic diseases in children and adults. We have been able to demonstrate that the communication network provided by the digestive molecules of the microbiome directly support these critical barriers. This suggests that the loss of the microbiome and its regulatory capacity is ground zero for our chronic disease epidemics. It starts with the gut!
What’s a parent to do?
In order to restore the microbiome, special care should be taken to offer children a balanced diet that is low in sugar and full of probiotic-rich foods. Consider speaking with your child’s pediatrician about using a probiotic supplement. To further protect their gut and allow it to function optimally, try adding RESTORE Magic Dirt Water into your child’s daily routine. This liquid supplement contains lignite extracts, and is designed to support the protection of the entire gastrointestinal tract against agricultural herbicides, antibiotics, gluten, and food-borne toxins by helping to create an environment where good gut bacteria thrive. You can read more about how it works to reduce gut permeability here. (Also look for RESTORE for adults, available in our apothecary.)
This blog post is sponsored by Biomic Sciences.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.