By now probably everyone has already heard about the good gut bacteria (microbiota) and their influence on our health. These trillions of superheroes are spending a tremendous amount of energy educating our immune system, reducing inflammation, sending signals to our cells and even communicating with our brain and other organs. And they are a part of our gut ecosystem.
But have you ever thought about the similarities between your gut health environment and the nature ecosystems?
In order for the ecosystem to function properly, adequate diversity is required. And if you ask any scientist working on the gut health, while many may disagree on types on microbes that are beneficial for us or not, they all say that the diversity of gut bacteria is the key to the healthy gut environment. The point is, that different bacteria in your gut produce different metabolites and contribute to different aspects of gut health. The same situation takes place in nature where all creatures play different roles in the ecosystem. Species diversity ensures sustainability for all life forms.
Balance is essential to all aspects of life. Balance in our gut microbiome, where all bacteria work in harmony as opposed to the situation where the overgrowth of bacteria, or not a sufficient number of bacteria is present, which is called dysbiosis. Some bacteria groups, which are considered potentially pathogenic, in small amounts do not cause any troubles and there is also a positive side to their presence. The problems begin when the things get out of the control and we have too much of them, and when they compete for space and resources with our good bacteria. Likewise in nature, when we add or remove certain species we may introduce imbalance to the ecosystem, such as hunting wolves will lead to increase of numbers of herbivores, which in turn may result in decreased plant diversity leading to the ecosystem imbalance.
There is a constant change in our gut as well as in the nature ecosystems. Everything is dynamic and subjected to transformation. Changing your diet will result in a shift in your gut bacteria in just 24h. Our gut bacteria follow the day-night cycle (circadian rhythm) and their behaviour differs during the day and night. In nature, change is related to different seasons, weather, time of the day, change is just ever-present. Nothing stays the same for long unless the optimal circumstances are provided.
We would like to think that we are much better and smarter than nature. However, there are thousands of similarities between us and the environment. The gut environment is only one of them. You can be sure you can easily find more examples!