By Art Oberbeck: Strength in Numbers Perspective on How to Maintain and Protect Health

Cancer is weaker than the common cold. You feel a cold coming on and then you are undeniably sick. You do not feel cancer “coming on”. Cancer silently infects your cells one by one over years to reach a critical mass. Using strength in numbers, it finally strikes by overwhelming your immune system with devastating results.

Luckily our bodies have a similar mechanism of strength in numbers that works in the opposite direction. The diverse colonies of symbiotic microorganisms that reside on our skin and, more importantly, in our digestive tract work collectively to protect our health and promote our vitality.

Germs Everywhere

After Louis Pasteur demonstrated that microorganisms caused disease in the mid-1800’s the medical profession adopted sterilization and the pharmaceutical industry worked to eradicate all “germs”. But at the same time Theodor Escherich discovered E. coli in the digestive tract of both healthy and sick children.

For the next 100+ years, while the medical and pharmaceutical industries focused on eliminating these microorganisms, medical scientists discovered more and varied species of bacteria, protozoans, fungi and others living in a delicate balance, the majority in our large intestine. Only in the last fifteen years do we finally recognize the microbiome, this most malleable component of our body, as a crucial ingredient for our physical and mental health.

Nature and Nurture

Unlike parasitic microorganisms that only want their host to survive, our symbiotic microorganisms want us to thrive. They make up over 50% of our immune system, create catalysts for energy metabolism and maintain our intestinal-blood barrier to restrict toxins from entering our blood, among other things. Colonies of Bacteroides and Bifidobacterium dominate in quantity, Lactobacillus leads with quality, and over 900 more microorganisms including the dangerous E. coli and Staphylococcus, evolved together in a productive balance to make us strong and resilient. Their nature, the genetic makeup, is strong.

But such a diverse and population requires balance to remain productive. At the extreme, the normally controlled resident E. coli colony gains the strength in numbers to unbalance the microbiome when you eat E. coli infected food and thus overwhelm our immune system. On a slower but still disruptive scale, sugars, refined carbohydrates, processed foods, non-food industrial additives and chemicals that did not exist in our diet until recently all promote dangerous colonies that disrupt the balance and compromise our immune response. We need to properly nurture our strong nature.

The best offense is a good defense

It has taken 2,000 years to scientifically confirm what Hippocrates, the father of western medicine, knew: “There is no healthy person with a sick stomach, and no sick person with a healthy stomach.” Our microbiome plays the critical role in our immune system to beat the common cold and stop cancer and countless other diseases from gaining a critical mass.

We nurture a healthy stomach, our immune system and our vitality through the foods we eat. Consume whole food grown and raised without industrial input or packaging. Your well nurtured nature will do the rest.

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Country: Peru