Altern Ther Health Med. 2006 Sep-Oct;12(5):52-60; quiz 61-2.
Balance of flora, galt, and mucosal integrity.
Hanaway P. Family to Family Healing Center, Asheville, NC, USA.
It is clear that there is a dynamic relationship involving the gastrointestinal flora, environmental inputs (food and other nutrients), and the health of the immune system. Recent research has taught us a great deal about the role of diet and commensal bacteria in promoting health. It appears that Nobel Laureate Eli Metchnikov may have been correct in his assertion that live bacterial cultures are "the elixir of life". We are unlocking a number of secrets about immune system functioning, but we keep coming back to a simple intervention that has an ever-expanding opus of research to support it, and an extremely low toxicity ratio. Future studies will help us to clarify the best strains and the best dosages for individual patients and specific conditions. Assessment of commensal flora and a genomic scan for markers of immunologic dysregulation will be more accurate and more widely available. It appears, however, that the diagnostic and therapeutic tools we have to work with today can make a tremendous difference in reducing the burden of suffering for our patients. If "form follows function," as Buckminster Fuller was fond of saying, then the form of our immune system may be following the precise functions that our commensal flora is dictating. We have the opportunity to encourage breastfeeding, decrease unnecessary antibiotic and antimicrobial usage (especially in the first two years of life), improve oral tolerance with a healthy n-6/n-3 fatty acid ratio, and support the development of a healthy commensal flora. These actions on behalf of our immune systems will pay dividends for years to come.
PMID: 17017755 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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