The above Monty Python inspired clip isn’t just our MD getting fitter or stronger, you may be surprised that he is actively improving the bacterial balance in his gut. Exercise changes one’s bowel flora, take Aloeride with water… Just like weightlifting changes the size of your biceps, exercise helps bowel flora become move diverse and more abundant. Whereas this perhaps is the surprising end of functional change, our suggestion is for you to make use of this opportunity.
This is how functional change manifests: if your diet is high in animal sources (protein and animal fat), the Bacteroides and Ruminococcus population increases. On the other hand, a plant-based diet (carbohydrates) favours Prevotella. Entirely logical to have more Bacteroides on a protein/animal fat diet because they are specialists for the degradation of proteins and carbohydrates. Any overly narrow diet, be this carnivorous or herbivorous/vegan or candida diet, breeds a narrow spectrum bowel flora. So, in order to encourage bacterial diversity and halt unhealthy dominance, simply alternate tasty fresh meat/fish meals with tasty vegetarian meals. A red day followed by a green day… Embolden that gut microbiome diversity by doing exercise that raise your heart and breathing rate (like swimming for dear life in cold water).
Many diseases are related to gut bacteria, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Diabetes Mellitus, Liver disease, Chronic Heart Disease, certain cancers… Below are some research examples, every one showing compromised health relating to a specifically abnormal bacterial population. Long before research of microbiomes started, Biological Medicine considered a healthy digestive tract the cornerstone of health.
In Ulcerative Colitis, flare-ups see a significant lowering of Lactobacilli , whilst during remission Lactobacillus salivarus, Lactobacillus manihotivorans and Pediococcus acidilactici were present. Creating a gut environment that encourages the growth of Lactobacilli thus may reduce the chance of relapse.
In Crohn’s Disease there is a decrease in Dialister invisus (uncharacterised species of Clostridium cluster XIVa ), Faecalibacterium prausnitzii and Bifidobacterium adolescentis , and an increase in Ruminococcus gnavus.
In children with Diabetes Type I Clostridium , Bacteroides and Veillonella are significantly increased, and the number of Lactobacillus , Bifidobacterium , Blautia coccoides/Eubacterium rectale group and Prevotella significantly decreased.
Rheumatic arthritis patients had significantly reduced faecal carriage of Bifidobacteria and Bacteroides fragilis.
Small intestinal bacteria overgrowth (SIBO) may be an important pathogenesis of fatty liver (nonalcoholic steatohepatitis – NASH). By laymen SIBO may be referred to as candida overgrowth (a.k.a. candidiasis or dysbiosis).
In Colorectal Cancer (CRC) Acidaminobacter, Phascolarctobacterium, Citrobacter farmer, and Akkermansia muciniphila are significantly over-represented. Those Akkermansia muciniphila are mucin-degrading species (i.e. weaken the gut wall). Streptococcus Gallolyticus (formerly Streptococcus bovis) is present approximately 20–50% of colon tumors and less than 5% in the normal colon. Bifidobacterium longum , Clostridium clostridioforme , and Ruminococcus bromii are under-represented in rectal cancer patients compared to healthy individuals. Those taking refuge in genetic predisposition (i.e. naught you can do about that), note that extracellular genotoxins and DNA damaging superoxide radicals produced by Enterococcus faecalis can contribute to CRC development. DNA damage also can be induced by genotoxic Escherichia coli which harbour the polyketide synthetase (pks) island and encode a genotoxin called colibactin.
Autistic Spectrum Disorder children have a distinct and less diverse gut microbial community structure, with significantly lower levels of genera Prevotella, Coprococcus, and unclassified Veillonellaceae. Two organisms (Bacteroides vulgatus and Desulfovibrio species, including D. desulfuricans, D. fairfieldensis, and D. piger) were more commonly found in stools of ASD children than in the control children’s stools. Firmicutes and Actinobacteria accounted for less of the total flora of ASD children’s stools than the control children’s stools. The most striking finding was that significant numbers of non-spore-forming anaerobes and microaerophilic bacteria were found in gastric and duodenal specimens from children with autism, while such bacteria are totally absent in the gut and duodenum from control children.
How To Do It
You actively looking after your bowel flora is such a clever move for good health. You have a handle on which species thrive and which won’t and this is simple:
|You want to:||You yourself can do this:|
|Introduce the healthy species||via the diverse microbiomes on raw vegetables fruits grapes and berries; via fermented foods; properly made probiotic products when necessary|
|Create an environment for growth||via a varied diet that is very plant-rich (gut pH/bowel transit time) thus innately prebiotic; helped by daily exercise; helped by optimal aloe vera; helped by winding down time|
If you have read our approach then you know that we encourage you to take a broader approach. That is why our MD takes daily swims in cold water and daily transcendental meditation moments. Sure enough, this takes time and you are so busy already. With 24 hours in a day, minus 8 hours sleep to recuperate, minus 12 hours work/travel, you have 4 hours a day that are yours. Between mowing the lawn, reading to the kids, putting out the dustbins, ironing, food shopping, cooking, there is time even if it may not feel like it at first glance. Negotiate with yourself and/or your other half, schedule stuff in… and reap the benefits.
Start exercise early and don’t stop
A study, published in Immunology and Cell Biology, showed that exercise in your early years creates a gut environment with better balance between the microorganisms that live in your intestines. Exercise in early life increases the number of different bacterial species living in your gut. The greater the diversity (plasticity) of species within your gut microbiome, the greater its ability to cope with diverse challenges. In a study, published in the journal Gut, scientists compared the gut microbiome of professional rugby players against that of other men of similar age and weight. They found that the stool samples of the athletes showed a greater diversity of bacteria in the gut and a higher level of specific bacteria often associated with good health. Do you need to do High Intensity Interval Training to achieve this? No, but whatever exercise you do, it needs to raise your heart rate and breathing rate, and challenge your system. Our MD finds that Wild Swimming ticks all those boxes and it costs you next to nothing:
Benefits of Wild Swimming
- It boosts your immune system. The effects of cold water on the immune system have been studied widely.
- It gives you an endorphin high, the happy hormone!
- It enhances your circulation.
- The effect of cold water adaptation on inflammation may be more effective than expensive drugs. Furthermore, high levels of inflammation are associated with many conditions such as depression, and low levels are associated with long life.
- It increases your libido. Increased production of testosterone and oestrogen in men and women respectively
- It burns more calories. Swimming in cold water will make your body work twice as hard to keep you warm and burn more calories in the process. For this sort of exercise, fat is your body’s primary source of energy and the increased work rate will increase your metabolism in the long run.
- It reduces stress. Repeated immersions — as few as four — diminish the stress response (increased heart rate and blood pressure, hyperventilation and the release of stress hormones). The process of cold water adaptation leads to a reduced, though not abolished, response to stress. Consequently, heart rate and blood pressure don’t go up as much and we can still control our breathing when we get in the water. Cold water swimming could therefore bring benefits to all of us, by preventing overreaction to stress.
- If science is still cautious, the anecdotal evidence is near-unanimous. You only have to ask cold water swimmers if it’s helped them physically or mentally to get an overwhelming ’yes’, on both counts.
- For more info see wildswimming.co.uk or outdoorswimmingsociety.com Here are some examples of where you can swim wild:
1) Llynnau Mymbyr, Snowdonia
2) Tellisford, near Frome, Somerset
3) River Wharfe at Bolton Abbey, North Yorkshire
4) River Derwent near Chatsworth House, Derbyshire
5) Llyn Glaslyn, Snowdonia
6) Lake Windermere, Lake District
7) Pangbourne, Berkshire
8) Fairy Pools, Isle of Skye
9) Stainforth Force, North Yorkshire
10) Serpentine Lake, London (Serpentine Swimming Club)
11) Port Meadow, Oxford
12) Loch Ness, Scottish Highlands
13) Hampstead Ponds, London
14) Burton Bradstock, Dorset
15) Llyn Cau, Snowdonia
16) River Barle, Somerset
17) Waveney River, Suffolk
18) Rutland Bathing Beach, Rutland
19) Tooting Bec Lido, Brockwell Lido, London
Remember to always check for local restrictions and hazards.