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Natural Awakenings South Central Pennsylvania

New Information Explores Gut/Brain Relationship

Nov 26, 2015 01:59PM

The Human Microbiome Project is perhaps the most important research ever undertaken into the understanding of human health. Only in the last 20 years or so have we begun to understand the fact that microbial cells (bacteria) outnumber human cells in our bodies by about 10 to one. Most of these microbes exist in the gut, which scientific research is now focusing on because of bacterial influence upon human development, physiology, immunity and nutrition.

Probiotics have recently become popular in today’s nutritional world. They are comprised of living bacteria, ingested in supplement and other forms, intended to benefit the health of our colon and in turn, our overall health in general. Much of what we find in the over-the-counter probiotic market is questionable as to the actual benefits these products provide.

Prebiotics are a specialized type of fiber that acts as a fertilizer for the good bacteria in our guts. Whether it is the bacteria already present there or taken in conjunction with certain probiotics, the intention is to grow the good bacteria to wipe out the bad bacteria. The most important types of prebiotic fiber work “full-spectrum” in the colon, or on both the left and right sides. The best source of this fiber is inulin and oligofructose (this is not sugar), which both occur naturally in specialized plant sources.

Recent scientific studies are proving that our guts are much more important to our overall bodily health than we could have imagined just 30 years ago. Myriad gastrointestinal diseases and disorders, many of which are a product of lifestyle and nutritional behavior, are recognized as a problem that starts with too much bad bacteria and not enough good in our gut.

But even beyond these conditions, newer studies are showing a direct link between the brain and gut and a correlated relationship with many mental disorders, as well. Anxiety, depression and even autism are now seen to have an indirect, if not fully direct link to the gut-brain connection. We have only just begun to understand just how important the health of our colon is for an overall general well-being, but ongoing research holds much promise.

Ron Walborn, Jr., is the chief operating officer and chief financial officer of Jackson GI Medical, in Camp Hill. Prebiotin is sold online at and at select natural markets and health food stores nationwide, including the Healthy Grocer, in Camp Hill. For more information, call 717-731-1805, or visit

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