To understand the benefits of fixing your cut to combat chronic diseases, we must first look at exactly what is meant by this term. By definition, chronic disease is one that lasts for three months or longer. Generally speaking, chronic diseases are not preventable via vaccines, they cannot be cured with medicine, and they do not vanish of their own accord. In fact, statistics show that around 88% of over 65s in the United States of America live with at least one chronic disease. The most common of these include the likes of arthritis, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, obesity, epilepsy, and more. These diseases cannot be cured with a trip to the doctor and they do not fade over time, so how exactly can we combat them? That’s where your gut comes into play.
Many people do not realize exactly how important your gut is to the overall health of your body. Those who picture it merely as a place in the body for food to be digested could not be further from the truth, as the microbiome within your gut can have wide-reaching knock-on effects. The human body is home to trillions of different bacteria, with the vast majority of these coming from your gut. Whether it is harmful bacteria or helpful micro-organisms, the balance of your gut microbiome is imperative to your overarching health. The gut microbiome as a collective is responsible for maintaining things such as your weight, health, heart strength, immune system, brain functions, and more. A harsh imbalance in this microbiome status quo can have devastating effects, which includes some of the chronic diseases listed above.
Functional Medicine –
While the vast majority of medical treatments are reactive, making decisions based on things that have already happened, functional medicine concentrates on identifying and addressing the root cause. For example, a hospital largely exists to welcome patients and treat them for illnesses and diseases they already have. What functional medicine does differently is to look at the diseases in question and trace them back to the first cause. This way, doctors can help patients before they even fall ill, rather than waiting for the disease to take a grip before reacting.
In terms of chronic diseases, functional medicine is all about gaining a greater understanding of the root causes and prevention in each individual person. Diseases are not always brought about by one root cause, with some being born out of a vast array of different decisions and environments. For example, a person with obesity will likely not be experiencing chronic diseases from one reason alone. Their own personal genetics, a lack of exercise, a poor diet, perhaps even issues such as low self-esteem and depression can come into play. Therefore, the root cause does not stem from one single location, but a variety of different reasons that group to form the eventual diseases. Functional medicine is about highlighting these root causes, managing them, and preventing them. It is a far more proactive form of healthcare.
Mitochondria are vital for human life, as they carry out the essential function of turning sugar, fat, and protein into chemical energy, human petrol. This is why they are often referred to as ‘the powerhouse of the cell’. These mitochondria produce around 90% of all chemical energy used in the human body. However, they also produce chemicals to break down and recycle waste to reduce the risk of harm to your body. Finally, Mitochondria also have an important role to play in the general lifecycle of a cell. Cells are designed to grow, live, and die at the right times within the human body to maintain the status quo, and the Mitochondria are essentially in charge of ensuring the cells die at the correct moments. Without this, the cells continue to grow and can result in tumors. So, it is of vital importance that a person’s Mitochondria are kept as fit and healthy as possible.
If the Mitochondria are damaged, the weight of the person in question will tend to rise. This comes as the Mitochondria are not able to fully break down the fats and sugars within the body, leaving it to build up. Unsurprisingly, this build-up of fat can lead to chronic health problems such as heart attacks, strokes, obesity, diabetes, and much more. To make matters even worse, if a person them combats their feelings of illness with antibiotics, their ghrelin levels increase and they are compelled to eat even more food. This triggers a vicious and extremely dangerous cycle within the human body. Therefore, it is important to know when to use antibiotics and how much to take.
Detoxification leading to longevity –
The path to longevity can be driven by a detoxification pathway, which has finally been proved by a team led by Professor Dr. Aleksandra Trifunovic at the CECAD Cluster of Excellence in Aging Research at the University of Cologne. The research done by Trifunovic observed a mutant work, with one mitochondrial gene change, able to live twice as long as a normal worm in the wild. However, this did come with some adverse effects, as the mutant work saw more reactive oxygen species, which can cause oxidative stress and harm to the worm’s cells. Despite this, it is the first piece of hard evidence that links longevity and the detoxification pathway. This pathway is also consistent throughout the animal kingdom, which makes these findings so exciting.
Leading scientist on the study, Dr. Marija Herholz, said: ‘When we deleted KLF-1, the mutant lost its longevity and returned to a normal lifespan, while at the same time the detox pathway was shut off. This shows that KLF-1 keeps the pathway working and is important for the longevity of the organism.’
On the downsides of the longer life span, Herholz added: ‘We could see that the mutants move slower and develop slower since they make less energy and have to support the complex detox machinery running. The public perception of ROS in a solely negative way is therefore not backed by scientific findings. Indeed, if the levels of antioxidants are too high, this might be harmful, as our study shows.’
The study has now been published in the Nature Communications journal under the name ‘KLF-1 orchestrates a xenophobic detoxification program essential for longevity of mitochondria mutants.’
Fixing the gut is key to healing chronic diseases, that much is very clear. Extensive research has shown that a healthy gut can help to avoid a whole range of health issues, while an unhealthy one can lead to arthritis, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, obesity, epilepsy, and more. Not only this, but going one step further and strengthening the gut and the body, through methods such as detoxification, could even extend human life. However, that level of research is still in its infancy and science has a long way to go before it can successfully double the life span of a human.