The relatively recent discovery of the microbiome is not only completely redefining what it means to be human, to have a body and to live on this Earth, but it is overturning belief systems and institutions that have been entrenched for centuries.
Life (and healthy outcomes) is not just about your genes—it’s about connectedness and relationships and access to all kinds of biological influencers and information. We’re talking about the interspecies kind of chitchat between human biology, bacteria, fungi, and viruses, that believe it or not, has an overwhelming impact on everyday form and function.
On one side of the current philosophical and evolutionary debate, there are those who believe that the workings of the human body are simply the workings of the universe and that our sacred bodies are ONE with the Earth and all that walk, fly, and swim upon it. Taking the opposite side are those who strongly hold to the notion that things we can’t see like germs (microbes, bacteria, viruses, etc.) don’t co-exist with humans and that they are dangerous and it’s far better to kill them ALL than to be killed by them.
Undoubtedly, we are entering into a new conversation about interconnectedness… and the microbiome IS rightly so front-and-center genetically and epigenetically to what it means to be human.
Only recently with the decoding of the human genome circa 2003 and discovery of the microbiome, has the science of genetics and evolutionary theory caught up to the notion that the microbiome actual affects how human genes are expressed. It does this through a complex network of microbes and cross-talk. This interspecies communication means that human beings communicate with bacteria, viruses are talking with fungi, infectious bacteria chat with host cells, and so forth. It’s this highly complex and highly intelligent cooperation that is at the foundation of co-evolution.
The traditional hierarchical animal kingdom classifications pretty much crumble once you understand that EVERYTHING is talking to each other and engaging in a constant dialogue of collaboration. The top-down approach to the organizational flow on the planet with humans beings at the top and “superior” to all other species, discounts all the complexity of the many other wondrous individuals/species that are just as relevant and important. Remove the latter from the tree of life and it will go barren.
Important parts of this microbial inter-species communications are things like microRNA (mRNA) produced by bacteria, fungi, plants, and animals and the food you eat. For instance, the food you eat carries information and not just vitamins, minerals, fats, proteins, carbohydrates, etc., that nourish the body. When you eat food, you are telling your body something—providing messages of health or disease.1 Together these agents can affect the expression of a wide range of human genes, thus impacting daily form and function (YOU!).
We have a great resource in the microbiome to respond in real time to changes, pathogens, nutrients, etc. Let’s not take it for granted, kill it off with toxic medications like antibiotics, deplete it with an unhealthy diet, or as most people do, simply ignore the health of this precious inner terrain.
It’s Either Us Or Them
Back some nearly 200 years, Louis Pasteur popularized the modern day germ theory of disease, amongst other things by introducing the hope that infectious diseases could be prevented by prophylactic vaccination. However, Pasteur was working at the dawn of the knowledge of the microbial world and the immune system as we know it along with the microbiome, wasn’t yet recognized or really on the radar.
Pasteur and others of his generation weren’t the first to demonstrate the existence of microbes and postulate their contribution to diseases, but they were certainly part of a scientific community bent on driving home the notion that infectious disease was caused by invisible organisms or “germs” waiting to attack us. Some how this mindset led to pushing aside the wonderful benefits that came from living in collaboration with the natural environment all around us. In the same breadth, we became afraid of fermented foods, milk, cheese, and simple non-life threatening diseases.
On one hand germ theory postulates that if the germ is present you’ll be sick and in some cases seriously, so the only alternative is to kill it. On the other hand, if the germ isn’t there, you aren’t infected and you are healthy. But this isn’t how the immune system, microbiome, and body works. We already know from research into the microbiome, that “germs” or bacteria, fungi, virus, etc., can co-exist in the human body and live benign in a healthy terrain AND provide benefits to the human host.
The key point to make is that it’s not about the presence or not of the germ or microbe. The microbes should be there and in most cases they play a role in sickness and in health (til death do us part!). The real truth is that most of the time, it is the constitution of the internal terrain that is home to these cohabitating microbes that causes illness, not the other way around.
Think about this… say you travel to another country and you eat food or drink the water and then unfortunately get diarrhoea, cramps, nausea and more, but the locals merrily go on about their normal daily routines perfectly healthy. The microbes or “germs” are still there and everyone is being exposed to them, but in reality, it’s a person’s internal terrain that determines whether the “meeting of the microbes” causes Montezuma’s Revenge or not.
It’s really astounding when you look at all the data provided by so much new research on microbes, viruses, bacteria, etc. Researchers are finding that somewhere around 0.10% of this population seem to be harmful and egregious to the human body, while the other 0.99% are benign or play some kind of beneficial role. In my mind, we need to let the 0.99% do their job by taking care of the other 0.10%, because nobody takes care of microbes better than other microbes. The focus of research and therapeutics should be on the 0.10% that are capable of doing harm, which honestly occurs when the terrain is out of balance. This means that first and foremost, we need the tools, resources and means to create and sustain a healthy internal ecosystem that supports all organisms in balance.
“Germs seek their natural habitat—diseased tissue—rather than being the cause of diseased tissue.” — Antoine Béchamp.
The Consciousness Shift
Our relationship with the “other” has to inevitably change. We cannot keep denying parts of reality that we don’t like or agree with only to embrace the bits and parts that are agreeable and that don’t rock the boat. There has been such a transformational paradigm shift with the advent of new biology concepts, that modern day germ theory, vaccination, sterilization, etc. are rendered to some extent obsolete in many ways.
There is a huge difference between being strong and being resilient. The latter is about being able to be exposed to small challenges, new organisms, environmental imbalances, etc., that disturb our equilibrium and possibly make us have a few unpleasant symptoms. This is what creates a more resilient immune system and sustains long-term wellness.
Microbes as some kind of biological weapon and therapeutics like vaccinations belong to another era whose sun is setting. The nearly 200-year old theory of “artificial immunization through vaccination” is flawed as all theories tend to be given the passing of time and the advancement of innovation and consciousness. The vast amount of phenomenal research in the areas of genetics and epigenetics, microbiome, virome, and more, surely eclipses out-dated systems of thought, medicine, and theory.
I have to also add that genetic engineering, intentional biological manipulation and gain-of-function experiments, through potent vehicles such as food, water, medicine and therapeutic approaches like vaccines, which are currently being thrusted upon (and soon to be possibly forced upon) both children and adults, is truly playing roulette with not only human biology, but the entire animal kingdom on the planet.
We are all connected—fray the edges of the tapestry and it gets worn down… but pull out one thread and whole tapestry unravels.
1 I Igaz, P Igaz. Possible role for microRNAs as inter-species mediators of epigenetic information in disease pathogenesis: Is the non-coding dark matter of the genome responsible for epigenetic interindividual or interspecies communication? Medical Hypotheses. Feb 2015:Vol 84;150-154.
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