Monday, April 8, 2013

Bowels, Bugs and an unfolding mystery.

I've written a few blogs on the evolving, largely unexplored, universe that is our very own "Bio-sphere": those Gazillions of bacteria and microscopic organisms that call "yours truly" Home Sweet Home. Just to re-cap on how many there are: if you imagine your body as representing the total number of cells that you call "you", then the area below your left knee represents the number of human cells in your "body" and the rest represents the number of organisms that make up that svelte human being you call you!

But it's in the gloomy recesses of our bowels that mystery unfolds upon mystery. Now it appears that there could be links between what sorts of bacteria are in our bowels and perhaps a gut based immune imbalance that can lead to Diabetes. Then there are theories that certain types of gut bacteria may be linked to why people develop Obesity. Now there are suggestions that bugs in our bowels may feast on the red meat we consume and increase the risks of having a heart attack!

The red meat bit has been around for a long time as vegetarians and vegens have a lower heart attack risk than red meat eaters, and for a long time we have linked the fat in red meat with the increased risk - hence the push for less red meat, make sure it's lean and try to replace it with fish and chicken. But now scientists are saying that there is a chemical in red meat called Carnitine - also found in energy drinks by the way - that might be another link in the Cholesterol/red meat chain. Carnitine is found naturally in red meat and the more you eat then the more Carnitine gets in to your guts. Certain bacteria love the stuff too and create a metabolite (a cute word for chemical) that enhances our body's ability to make cholesterol in the blood stream more likely to stick to the wrong spots!

Yet again, it's early days but my take is that we all eat too much red meat (and urban legend has it that "they" pump our cattle full of antibiotics and chemicals anyway) and that we can get most of our protein and iron needs from other sources. So cut back the red meat to once a week, eat more fish, chicken and all those amazing fresh veggies that are in the supermarkets and stores ( and growing your own is even more fun!) and let those bugs in your bowel get on with the job the good Lord intended for them: and that's to make our lives healthier and happier!

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1 comment:

Mariodacatsmom said...

Great article and very interesting. We are ones who have probably eaten too much red meat in our lifetime. These past few years tho, we've tried to limit it to 2 times a week - lean choices. It hard to know what to eat anymore. Our waters are so poluted that they say not to eat fish more than once a week. We do like chicken and use it frequently, but they are also pumped full of stuff too, I believe.