Has Modern Life Permanently Altered Our Intestinal Bacteria?

Intestinal bacteria can greatly influence your long term health, and we are seeing alarming changes in our bacterial blends.

Multibacteria ImageA recent study compared the composition of intestinal bacteria in modern U.S. adults with that obtained from rural African children, a Tyrolean Iceman found in a glacier, an Austrian soldier from 1918 also frozen in glacier, stool remains from ancient burial grounds and modern apes.

The results showed that adults living in our modern lifestyle have a substantially different intestinal bacteria mixture that all of the other samples, and that all the other samples seemed much more alike each other than the modern, U.S. adults.

This means that in the last 100 years, there has been major change to the mixture of intestinal bacteria in modern, cosmopolitan U.S. adults.  This bacterial change is not good news.

Many recent studies have shown that an imbalance of intestinal bacteria (a condition called SIBO, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) has the ability to change our hormonal levels, impair immune functioning, alter brain and neurological functioning and cause systemic inflammation often referred to as “leaky gut”.

These changes can trigger symptoms such as depression, anxiety, obesity, diabetes, heartburn, constipation, fatigue, headaches, poor concentration, heart rhythm disturbances, autoimmune disorders, eczema and bladder problems to name a few.

Although the widespread use of antibiotic practices and various aseptic techniques (i.e., sterile food preparation) have largely benefited modern humans, this study suggests they may have damaged our natural intestinal bacteria and potentially may be the trigger for modern epidemic of disease and illness affecting many Americans.

I have found that restoring a healthy blend of intestinal bacteria for my patients is powerful tool in managing overall good health, for both adults and children.

Patrick Nemechek, D.O.

Patrick Nemechek, D.O.

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