By Dr. Jeannie Thomason
While studies on animals are still few, human studies have connected microbial imbalance in the gut to a variety of conditions, including obesity, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, immune disorders, and liver and brain diseases.
Let’s look at microbes, the Microbiome and Biological Terrain:
A microbe is general term used to describe many different types of life forms or “microscopic organisms”. They are living things that are too small to be seen with the naked eye.
Examples of Microbes are:
The word microbiome is defined as the collection of microbes or microorganisms that inhabit an environment, creating a sort of “ecosystem”. It is in reality, the full collection of genes of all the microbes in a community. The microbiome (all of the microbes’ genes) can be considered a counterpart to the genome (all genes). The genes in our dog’s or our own microbiome actually outnumber the genes in our genome by about 100 to 1!
Many microbes are able to gain access to an ecosystem. But only those with the proper adaptations—that is, those who can use the available resources and withstand any environmental challenges—will survive and reproduce. Think of a fern taken from a wet forest and moved to a desert … it will die! Microbes from the skin for instance, will die in the stomach. Only those that are best-equipped for the unique environment they were made for will take hold. In other words, the environment imposes selection.
Likewise, changing an ecosystem will affect who lives there. In the gut, for example, one important abiotic factor is food. Species Specific diet influences the balance of microbes living in our pet’s as well as our own guts.
Terrain (internal ecosystem)
The terrain theory was initiated by Claude Bernard (1813 – 1878), and later built upon by Antoine Bechamp (1816-1908). They believed that the “terrain” or “internal environment” determined the state of health. When a body is functioning in homeostasis, and immunity and detoxification is operating well, there is a healthy terrain which can handle various pathogenic microorganisms that inevitably enter the body.
In essence, the quality of the terrain and the elements it faces determines an individual’s susceptibility to dis-ease.
Plants and crops are known to grow and thrive MUCH better in soil/terrain that is loaded with microbes; that has not been treated with toxic chemicals such as pesticides, herbicides or synthetic fertilizers, (as many as 40,000 microbe species can be found in one gram of healthy soil).
Just as this is a fact in the plant world, it is a fact in the animal world and our dog’s bodies must have a healthy biological terrain to keep their immune system primed and balanced in order to thrive.
If the body is fed a diet that provides adequate amounts of naturally occurring, live nutrition, nurtured with love as well as getting adequate amounts of sunlight, clean filtered water, etc., just like a healthy garden, it will flourish with vitality and support a strong immune system.
The internal terrain is also influenced by the amount of healthy gut bacteria present and the transit time of food, through the gut.
Optimal gastrointestinal health depends on the balance of microscopic interplay between billions of beneficial (“good”) and pathogenic (“bad”) bacteria. Both are needed for normal bowel functions. A well-maintained balance between these opposing microorganisms is essential for a properly functioning digestive tract and to prevent toxins from building up.
About 400 species of these microbes/“good bugs” inhabit the intestines. Their total population is about 100 times the number of cells in your body. Remarkably, these microorganisms coexist peacefully in a carefully balanced internal ecosystem. As long as they flourish, they prevent pathogenic (disease-causing) bacteria and fungi from colonizing. In this way, beneficial bacteria help keep your dog healthy. If the delicate intestinal environment is a disrupted, pathogenic bacterium, parasites and fungi such as clostridia, salmonella, staphylococcus, Blastocystis hominis and Candida albicans often move in, multiply and attack the beneficial bacteria.
A Few References:
Microbial human by Charls Tsevis