The Bowel Ecosystem
In my view, the most remarkable phenomenon in the entire field of human biology is this: A vast number of clinical problems that are seemingly unrelated to the bowel spontaneously resolve when the focus of clinical management turns to all the issues in bowel ecology. How often do symptoms of persistent debilitating fatigue in young men and women clear up when an altered state of bowel ecology is restored to normal? How often do troublesome mood swings subside when therapies focus on the bowel? How often does arthralgia (pain and stiffness in joints with or without joint swelling) resolve when all the bowel issues are addressed? How often do we successfully prevent chronic headache and anxiety; lightheadedness and palpitations; menstrual irregularities and incapacitating PMS; recurrent attacks of vaginitis and cystitis; recurrent sore throats and asthma; and eczema and related skin lesions by correcting the abnormalities in the internal environment of the bowel? The answers to these questions will vary widely among physicians.
THE GUT IS A MISUNDERSTOOD ORGAN
Physicians who regularly neglect the bowel (and those who never understood the issues of bowel ecology in the first place) will dismiss these questions with scorn. None of this has been proven with double-blind cross-over studies, they will strenuously protest. Other physicians who have learned to respect the bowel—as the ancients did—and care for their patients with a sharp focus on bowel issues will readily and unequivocally validate my personal (and fairly extensive) clinical experience.
LIFE IN THE BOWEL ECOSYSTEM
The bowel ecosystem teems with life. Shrouded in metabolic mists, it is as rich in biologic diversity and as broad in biochemical interrelationships as any other ecosystem on this planet Earth. The ancients seemed to have an intuitive sense about it. Death begins in the bowel, they pronounced in more than one way. Anton van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723) studied fecal bacteria during his work with the microscope and thus was the first man to study life in the bowel ecosystem with modern scientific methods. Metchnikoff, the Russian biologist, who single-handedly developed the concept of the cellular arm of the immune system, became intensely interested in the aging process in his later years when he moved to Paris, where he served as the head of the Pasteur Institute. He studied the longevity of Bulgarians and provided strong evidence that certain bowel microbes played important roles in preserving health and promoting longevity among them. He named the microbe he thought was most prominent in this field as Lactobacillus bulgaricus. Metchnikoff's work opened the floodgates of basic research on the bowel flora.
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