Probiotics and the Future

March 2, 2016

Crops in FieldIf you’re following along with us, you’ve probably noticed that there are regular studies coming out tying good bacteria to every aspect of our health. How much we weigh (regardless of what we eat), what kind of mood we’re in, even whether we’re inclined to go out and exercise. There seems to be no limit to the importance of all those bacteria, and the importance of having the right ones.

After all, we’re made up of more bacterial cells than we are human, so none of the above should be surprising (even if it’s something to wrap your head around). But here’s where the future is going to get tricky:

Things are changing. For instance, we’re developing new ways to grow food that use less water, feed more people with less space, more quickly, and more efficiently. While there are a couple different models out there, they’re similar to grow houses (which more people are familiar with)—basically creating farm warehouses that use special lights, heating/cooling, and watering (basically a highly controlled environment) to grow high-quality crops more quickly and efficiently.

A side-effect is that things are kept pretty germ free—on the good side, that means food stays fresh much longer (and will be easier to ship), and will likely have a lower risk of food poisoning, but it also removes us another step from nature—and from germs that may be good for us, or may stimulate our immune system (and our gut is a very important part of our immune system).

Similarly, we’re figuring out how to grow meat in a lab—which sounds awful, but is actually identical to the real thing (and less likely to carry parasites, like Toxoplasmosis!) and comes without any guilt, water waste, etc. etc… but again, I wonder how this will change our gut biome!

Even without such a crazy future scenario, the germs (good and bad) we get from our food are constantly changing thanks to changes in soil, animals, pesticides and herbicides sprayed, and other environmental factors—as well as varying hygiene where our food is processed!

Finally, and to bring it back to all the research that’s been done, there are already attempts in hospitals to treat patients using what we’re learning about bacteria. Unfortunately, hospitals are germy places, and this is bringing a whole new layer to the risks of Hospital Acquired Infections. Specifically, I’m thinking of the women who were having a fecal transplant (which treats problems like C. diff) and ended up catching a bacteria that triggers obesity!

And that’s all just a short summary of ways our world is changing—which is why I think we should all take charge of our natural, beneficial biome (so we can keep it that way!). Probiotics should be a central part of your daily diet, or at least there in supplement form. Get the ball rolling on being proactive with what is turning out to be a central facet of our health as the world around us changes! In a few years, you may appreciate having had the foresight!

What future changes do you think will impact our natural probiotics?

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