Your amazing gut flora or microbiota and its effect on your health | Colin Holding | Skillshare

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Your amazing gut flora or microbiota and its effect on your health

teacher avatar Colin Holding, Live life - love life

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

10 Lessons (34m)
    • 1. Welcome

    • 2. What you will learn

    • 3. What and where is the microbiota

    • 4. Microbiota and digestion

    • 5. Microbiota and brain health

    • 6. Microbiota and mmune health

    • 7. The modern day dilemma

    • 8. The solution

    • 9. Nurturing the gut microbes

    • 10. In conclusion

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About This Class

You may have heard of gut flora, microbiota, microbiome, commensals. These are the microbes that hitchhike on and in your body. You may have thought yeh fine a few little microbes and if I wash my hands enough, they're not gonna hurt. It's true they won't hurt in fact quite the opposite - they are essential for good health. They help digest your food, they produce the precursors to many of your neurotransmitters, they help control your weight, they are key components of a healthy immune system. 
... and there aren't just a few of them - there are between 40 and 100 trillion - that's about 10 times the number of human cells you have in your body.

This course explores the microbiota or gut flora... you will learn:

- What and where it is
- What it does
- Why modern western living and diet gives it a hard time
- How to look after it and make sure it's healthy which means you are healthy.

So welcome to this short course - let's dive headlong into your gut and make acquaintance with your microscopic friends. 

Meet Your Teacher

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Colin Holding

Live life - love life


Colin is committed to helping people have a more tranquil life - balanced, healthy, efficient and stress free. Whilst a seemingly insurmountable challenge - to try and balance a life in an environment human being were not designed for, there are many tools we can use to take on this challenge.

Colin has many years of experience and understands well, the different challenges posed by the varied work and home environments. Colin has worked in the corporate environment, sales and marketing and IT but also knows the challenges of an entrepreneur and stay at home dad, having run his own businesses in IT, photography and health and fitness. A graduate in Psychology, Colin has always had a fascination with the human dilemma, a modern mind in a technological world, transported in a confu... See full profile

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1. Welcome: this course starts with a story. Before I start this story, I just want to point out that I think of myself as a pretty fit and healthy individual. I have for at least the past 10 to 15 years, being quite proud and impressed by my immune system. I literally never get colds or flues, stomach upsets or any other Lor G's. Admittedly, I never have to endure a public transport commuter run squashed up with coughing and spluttering infected bodies. A few weeks back, I have to get some dental work done. It was an implant, to be precise. I should have been a little bit more diligent about my annual dental checkups in my younger days. Anyway, on implant is like an operation. Well, it is an operation. It's drilling a hole into your jawbone, putting in a paige that will hold a crown. Because the procedure is fairly radical and intrusive, there is a chance off post operative infection. My dentist prescribed me eight days worth of antibiotics, which I slightly resentfully started straight after the operation. Within 30 minutes of taking that first pill, I could feel a sore throat coming on and within an hour, I was done with one of the worst colds I've ever experienced. It literally knocked me off my feet for four days, and I spent another 10 or 11 days feeling pretty rubbish but slowly recovering in my many years off. Being in the health and fitness industry, I was well aware of the role of gut flora, or micro biter in not only digestive but also overall health. And I knew something of the role of these friendly little microbes in the immune system. But this episode really prompted me to dig deeper. It turns out that 70 to 80% of all your immune cells are located in your gut on the good flora, which I've faultlessly toasted with. The round of antibiotics play a huge role in immune system effectiveness. So this is a short course on your micro biter and how to develop green fingers to be kind, nurture and nourish the little guys that help you keep fit and healthy and keep the dreaded allergies at bay. And it's not just your immune system. Your microbiota also hold the key to your metabolism, your brain health on weight control on overall health. So stay tuned and see how you can stay fit and healthy just by tending to your internal ecosystems. You know 2. What you will learn: Welcome back to this video in this one. I'm just going to talk about what we're gonna learn. This course is designed to give you an overview on what is now known to be one of the most important aspect of your health. Your gut, microbial flora or microbiota. The course will be split into several sections. Andi, what will cover is, firstly, what and where is your microbiota or your Microbiome? Secondly, what does it do? And why is it so important to us in the next section, I will talk about what happens when we neglected or even destroy parts of it. Well, then move on to how we can really look after and nurture it. And finally, we'll just do a quick recap on a summary off your micro garter on how important it is to keep you fantastically healthy. So stay tuned on. I'll see you in the next video. 3. What and where is the microbiota: Welcome back in this video, we get to talk about the microbiota what it is and where is it? There are about 100 trillion microbes hitchhiking on and in your body. That is about 10 times the number of allow human cells in your body. These microbes are made up off bacteria, but also fungi are care viruses and protozoa ins. Collectively, they're known as your microbiota. The full collection off jeans represented in your micro biter is called your microbiome. You might find that sometimes these expressions are used interchangeably. But your microbiota are the actual microbes on the microbiome is the genetic representation off a love your microbiota, the microbiota that is deemed as friendly to your body are also known as commence ALS. These microbes are everywhere there on your skin, in different parts of your body, under your armpits, behind your neck on your back. They're in your mouth there around your gentle region, but most famously especially for your health. There in your gut. The's locations on your body are very different environments. Andi ecosystems. So the types of microbes that inhabit these different ecosystems also very, quite a bit over thousands of years on amazing symbiotic relationship has grown up between you and your microbes. Without them, you wouldn't even be here. As I'm sure you're aware, bacteria have bean getting a pretty hard wrap over the years as being the cause of illness and disease. And the introduction off antibiotics was hailed as our trump card against these pesky little microbes. It turns out that the majority of these bacteria are our friends, be contributing enormously to both our physical and mental health. Throughout our evolution, our war against these microbes has bean, relentless antibiotics, anti bacterial soaps, this kitchen and bathroom cleaners that kill 99% of all known bacteria. But with this obsessive cleanliness came massive collateral damage. So now we really understand that many of these bacteria have a great mutual ist IC relationship with us. I think they deserve a little bit more respect and looking after, and then they will look after us 4. Microbiota and digestion: Welcome back Now again to talk about the gut microbes on discuss exactly what they do. There's gonna be three parts, which is digestion, your brain health and your immune system. So let's start with digestion. The well functioning Biota is essential for optimal digestive health. Having said that, it's not absolutely essential for digestion itself. In research studies, engineered microbiota free mice were able to survive, but toe had to consume greater amounts on a much wider variety of foods to actually survive . Many of the fibers in plants are not digestible by the gut itself, but instead are broken down by enzymes produced by the microbes in your gut, allowing the energy and nutrients to be absorbed by the gut. Sometimes the breakdown off certain compounds require several microbes to be involved on Undergo cross feeding or Centra Pia's. It's called the waste products, or metabolites. Off one species may provide food for another microbes. Species on the cascading effect provides maximal energy generation. This is partly why a really diverse microbiota is beneficial. They're not only symbiotic for us, but their symbiotic between themselves. The body is unable to synthesize its own vitamins, so whilst most vitamins are derived from our food sources. Gut Microbiota is able to synthesize things like vitamin K and most of the B vitamins. Research has shown that one of the most important aspect off the digestive health is the ability of the microbiota to produce short chain fatty acids, primarily as state appropriate. Eight. On beauty, Right? The's short chain fatty acids are key for good colon health. They are the primary energy source for the cell lining of the gut. I'll delve into a little bit more detail in the immune system section on why the cells lining the gut are so important for our immune system. Short chain fatty acids, particularly beauty rate, also have significant anti inflammatory properties and have been used to treat a whole range of inflammatory bowel diseases. Beauty Rate has bean linked in animal studies to reduced cancer incidents in the colon. ANDI encourages cancer cell destruction. The positive effects on cancer prevention and treatment required the combination off. Both ah high fiber diet Andi Buta rate producing bacteria, the's short chain fatty acids produced by the Microbiota, have also been implicated in the positive effects on Type two diabetes on the normalization on insulin sensitivity. Several studies have shown that short chain fatty acids also regulate fat metabolism by increasing fat burning on decreasing fat storage. When this occurs, the quantity off free fatty acids in the blood is reduced and may also help to protect against weight gain. Short chain fatty acids also provide approximately 10% off daily caloric requirements, so they are on energy source as well. One of the reasons we can go for extended periods without food but not water is that our little microbial friends can help supply the nutrients and energy in the absence of dietary sources. So that's digestion, and particularly the short chain fatty acid production. In the next video, we'll talk about the gut microbes and their effect on brain health. Uh. 5. Microbiota and brain health: welcome back and now going to talk about the gut Microbiota on its effect on brain health. The gut as a second brain has been talked about fairly extensively for the past few years. You may have heard the gut has about 100 million neurons. It's about the size of a cat's brain. This conglomeration of neurons in the gut is known as the enteric nervous system, but the gun is actually made up off two parts. One is human, the other isn't so. The human cells are the neurons, the synapses, all the connective tissues, the communicating and transmitting information to the big brain fire the vagus nerve. The second part is the microbe arctic brain, the gut microbiota, which acts almost like an end of criminal organ synthesizing hormones and precursors to hormones that then circulate in our blood, which could even have epigenetic control over some of our behaviors. To illustrate just how our microbiome might be able to influence our brains in animal studies, it might become colonized with the microbe tax. So plasma Gandhi I, they lose their fear of cats, in fact, worse than that for the mice, they even become attracted to cats Microbe actually manages to change the behavior of the mouse. Interestingly, the gut is responsible for producing many of the neurotransmitters used by the brain. In fact, serotonin, a hormone well known for modulating mood, 90% is produced in the gut, and the Microbiota is thought to be responsible for facilitating and even producing serotonin. So what happens in our guts and particularly the health of the microbiota, can have effects on our behavior and even our mental health. Because we're now able to study microbiota through gene sequencing, scientists are now getting an even more sophisticated picture of our gut flora and how it can affect our health both positively and negatively, depending on how we nurture our commence Aled microbes. So the microbes in your gut need to be looked after because they can have a huge effect on your mental health. They can even affect the epigenetic expression off certain genes that can change behaviour . So, in the next section, we're gonna have a look at microbiota gut flora looking after your immune system, So state 6. Microbiota and mmune health: Ah, big welcome back in this video, we're going to talk about the immune system. The immune system is really back to where I started at the beginning. If you remember my story of heading to the dentist, taking one round of antibiotics and going down with the worst cold I've ever had, this experience was really what prompted me to delve somewhat deeper into the Microbiota, on particularly its role in the immune system. As I mentioned in an earlier video, it turns out that 70 to 80% of your immune cells reside in your gut, and this is for very good reason because we are actually hollow tubes. Technically, your gut is an external surface, so you have a long tube running right through you from your mouth to your rectum on your immune system. Needs to make sure that any pathogens cannot access your body through the gastrointestinal tract or the G I tract. This is a challenge. Here are some more amazing numbers. There are more bacteria on the planet Earth than there are stars in the universe. Five million trillion trillion. That's a five with 30 zeros behind it on each of US host our fair share between 40 and 100 trillion. So if we go back a very, very long time, microbes were the first life on the planet, and there is literally no organism on Earth that hasn't co evolved with microbes on the human host is no different. So the little microbes that hang about on our skin, our hair, our mouths are armpits. Most of us systematically have a goat them every day bath thing, showering soaps, shampoos, creams, antibacterial products, the microbes that are deep down in our intestines arm or difficult for us to nuke on. Thank goodness for that. Because if we live a healthy, well nourished life, we have trillions of little microbes that are concerned with our well being and keeping us as healthy as we are. These are microbial common souls. The first job of our friendly microbiota is that off competitive exclusion microbial populations in a healthy system can actively out compete microbial pathogens and prevent them from taking hold in these sites. Sometimes it's quite tricky for our immune system. Teoh identify the good guys from the bad, so our first line of defense is something called the Mucosal Firewall. This is a layer of mucus that keeps the microbes at a healthy arm's length. From our gut wall, the mucus is a thick, sticky substance, like you get plugging your nose when you have a cold. Music is produced from the goblet. Cells scattered amongst the epithelial cells of the G I tract microbiota is essential, reducing the energy for the gut cells to produce the music that keep the microbes away from the gut wall. The first problem is that the majority of Commence Aled Microbiota, which is the friendly microbes, live in the lowest part of the G I tract in the colon. The modern Western diet is largely made up off simple carbs and sugars, proteins and fats. Now, most of the absorption and energy from these easily digestible foods happen in the top section of the digestive system. This means that very little is left by the time it gets to the colon. What we're doing with a modern Western diet is literally starving are microbiota in the distal parts of the lower parts of digestive system, which is where most of them reside. These starving microbes then have to find food from somewhere, and so start eating away at the protective layer of mucus in the colon, which is actually made up carbohydrates. Without this layer, the microbes start to interact with our gut war are immune. System starts to react by trying to kill these intruders and causing a massive inflammatory response in the gut. There is a fine home eo static balance between the body's immune system on the microbiota in the gut, with our modern day changes in environment on diet. In the Western urbanised world, there has bean a drop in infectious disease but at the same time a dramatic increase in inflammatory diseases. And these include asthma, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease and obesity. Metabolites from the MICROBIOTA, especially the short chain fatty acids, make sure that the tea red cells function properly and proliferate, thus reducing inflammation on the auto immune response. This happens not only in the gut but also remote mucosal sites like the respiratory tract. It's important to remember that the relationship between your commence Aled Gut flora may go back many, many generations. The majority of your gut flora species may have bean in your family in your ancestors and then passed on from mother to child, assuming you weren't delivered by C section, where you might have the gut flora profile off the doctor or nurses in attendance at your birth. The point is, is that there is an amazing mutual ist IC relationship between your immune system on the good microbes, signaling and influence goes both ways. It's complicated and it's only just being unraveled by scientists. What is now without question is that are immune. Health is massively dependent on our commence along microbiota health, so make sure you look after it. 7. The modern day dilemma: So we've talked about the micro barter for digestion, for the immune system, Andi for brain mental health. Now we're just going to talk about where we have a few problems in trying to keep this micro Barto, that which has bean with us for thousands and thousands of years, how we actually keep it healthy. As I've already mentioned, we and most living organisms have co evolved with the microbes over millions of years on. We most likely even have an ancestral microbial fingerprint passed from generation to generation, with subtle changes in our microbiota occurring with evolving exposure to new environments and relationships with people and animals and nature. In 1989 a guy called David Straka and put forward the hygiene hypothesis, which proposed that a lower instance of infection in early childhood could explain the rapid increase in 20th century allergic diseases like asthma and hay fever and other allergies. It's now well recognised in the scientific and medical communities that have reduced microbial exposure may have much more far reaching effects on chronic inflammatory diseases , including Type two diabetes, multiple sclerosis, some types of depression and even some cancers, Graham wrote. Put forward a similar hypothesis in 2003. It's called The Old Friends Hypothesis. He proposes that many of the beneficial and protective microbes have bean with US and co. Evolved with us for thousands of years. If, as most researchers in this field seem to believe, that microbial exposure, especially at a young age Andi microbial diversity is a key to good health and a strong adaptive immune system, then we've bean putting ourselves at some risk for the past few decades. There's no question that there is a place for high levels off sanitization on antimicrobial administration, the most obvious being when our immune system is compromised by infection or during an operation, or when we're in an environment with potentially high concentrations of pathogenic microbes , like in hospitals. But in the past few decades, the urban human has bean obsessed by sanitation. Our bodies surfaces in our homes, kitchens, bathrooms, our food, our water. This means a much lower exposure to microbial variety. It's well recognized now that antibiotics have bean massively overprescribed over the years with two major detrimental side effects. Firstly, there's been a massive rise in antibiotic resistance and secondly, collateral damage to our commence ALS Microbiota has bean significant the development off antibiotics waas by design broad spectrum which kills good on bad. But this leaves our guts open to colonization by pathogenic microbes, a swell as losing alot benefits supplied by the good bacteria. In the next couple of videos, I'm going to talk about how we can improve, protect and nurture our microbiota instead of trying to kill it off. So stay tuned and I'll see you in the next video. 8. The solution: So here's the important part. How do we improve? I want to start by showing you a map off asthma incidents around the globe, and it's very obvious that the highest incidents is in Western developed countries. Asthma is really a poster child for chronic inflammatory disease and the bean many epidemiological on microbiome studies conducted particularly on the risk factors leading to asthma in childhood. There were quite a few risk factors identified, but the four main ones are the following one anti microbial administration. This is antibiotics to formula feeding instead of breast feeding babies. Three is delivery by Caesarean section, rather than by natural vaginal birth on for a lack of exposure to third animals, which includes cats or dogs or farm animals. The reason this is a good example and very, very well researched is that it highlights three major ways of tackling the problem of a depleted and compromised microbiota. Firstly, we need to get a diverse array of microbes into our gut. Secondly, we need to minimize antimicrobial administration as much as possible. I antibiotics, anti bacterial cleaners, wipes sanitation products, and thirdly, we really need to feed a nourish the good bacteria that are already in our guts. So how do we do this? Well, to start with it, maybe a little bit late for you and I. But if you have any influence, I if your apparent off a child from 0 to 3 years, the first thing is to try and avoid see section that, if possible, breastfeed and also introduced a family pet to the household. Soil bacteria, which we co evolved with for millions of years, have been shown to contain many healthy bacteria for your gut. So try to avoid peeling things. Carrots or apples or pears on Don't overwash your food. Just a a simple wash to get any potential pesticides off, but not to actually destroy any of the microbes that are actually on skin. Avoid antibiotics whenever possible. Speak to your doctor or whoever's prescribing antibiotics and really try and propose a wait and see approach. There's really no need to over sanitize everything. Use mild rather than aggressive cleaners. It goes without saying that it's important to have good personal hygiene, but keep things miles. So in the next video, we're gonna talk about getting good bacteria into your guts and looking after the ones that are there. So primarily will be talking about pre and probiotics. So stay tuned, and I'll see you in the next video. 9. Nurturing the gut microbes: Welcome back. Now we've started to let these general everyday microbes in and on our bodies. We need to nourish them. Let's firstly talk about probiotics. Probiotics will actively populate your gut with millions off good bacteria. Trick with probiotics is to get them from a reliable and trustworthy source. Variety or diversity is key. If you're probiotic, only contains one or two strains of the bacteria. It might not be that effective. The more strains and the higher the population, the better. Much research shows that supplementary probiotics never actually take up permanent residence in the gut. Eventually, they will be expelled. What is useful is that while they're there, they provide competitive exclusion. This allows for the proliferation off good bacteria and limits the bad guys. Apart from supplementation. You can also consume probiotic foods. Thes, often fermented foods like active culture, your gut care fear, computer sauerkraut on. There's many more things like pickles, but you can go onto the Internet and research. Just look up probiotic foods. Sometimes there's confusion between probiotics and probiotics. Probiotics are very different to probiotics. They don't actually contain any microbes themselves. They just provide nutrition for the gut. Flora, you might remember that in an earlier video, I mentioned that basically an easily digestible diet off simple carbs, sugars, fats and proteins means that everything is digested and absorbed in the proximal the upper part off the gut, leaving nothing on essentially starving. The majority of the good bacteria in the colon or the distal part off the G I tract, enter prebiotic food very high in non digestible fiber. It can't be digested and absorbed, so it makes it to the microbes in the colon, which use it for food. The waste products, which you might think off as Mike. Robotic feces being the amazing short chain fatty acids, which are so great for our health. So some great examples off prebiotic foods are things like trickery routes, Jerusalem, artichokes, dandelion greens, onions, garlic, leeks, artichokes, asparagus on bananas. Most of these are best raw, if possible, but you still get benefits even when they're cooked. So try and minimize the simple carbs on the sugars and really try and get high fiber on complex carbohydrates into your into your diet. On that will look after the micro barter, which are in the lower part of your gut in the colon, and they will look after you 10. In conclusion: Welcome to the end of the course. Congratulations for making it to the end. I found it absolutely fascinating researching the micro biter and its effect on our health . And what's even more interesting is that the research is getting better and better as we improve the technologies. So finally, just a quick wrap up to the course. I hope he enjoyed it on glean some useful insights into your amazing commence ALS microbes that help you lead a happy and healthy life. Nutrition can be very emotive, and it can also get very complicated. Every day. There's new research, some good and some not so good sometimes what is good for you today will be bad for you tomorrow to try and make things sustainable, eat a diverse selection off food, mainly plants, and it'll give you a microbiota. Its best chance to flourish and happy microbes means a happy gut. As research improves. I'm sure many of the chronic inflammatory diseases we see on the rise in Western urban society today will be put down to nutrition, and our relationship with our microbes don't get this is part off the Shine model Siri's shine being sustainable, health inspired by nature and evolution. Keep it simple, keep it sustainable and don't forget, just shine