Research shows that your gut flora can affect numerous processes in your body, including your metabolism, energy production, nutrition, and genetic expression. We also know from previous research that the gut microflora plays an intimate role in mental illness.
The microbes in the human gut belong to three broad domains, of these, bacteria reign supreme, with two dominant divisions -- known as Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes -- making up over 90 percent of the gut's microbial population. Within the bacterial categories enormous diversity exists.
Each individual's community of gut microbes is unique and profoundly sensitive to environmental conditions, beginning at birth. Indeed, the mode of delivery during the birthing process has been shown to affect an infant's microbial profile. Communities of vaginal microbes change during pregnancy in preparation for birth, delivering beneficial microbes to the new-born, which populate their gut.
At the time of delivery, the vagina is dominated by a pair of bacterial species, Lactobacillus and Prevotella. In contrast, infants delivered by caesarean section typically show microbial communities associated with the skin, including Staphylococcus, Corynebacterium, and Propionibacterium.
While the full implications of these distinctions are still murky, evidence suggests they may affect an infant's subsequent development and health, particularly in terms of susceptibility to pathogens.
In her book “Gut and Phycology Syndrome” Dr. Campbell-McBride believes most autistic children are born with perfectly normal brains and sensory organs. The trouble arises when they fail to develop normal gut flora. She explains the chain of events that is typical for many, if not most, autistic children:
"What happens in these children is that they do not develop normal gut flora from birth… As a result, their digestive system—instead of being a source of nourishment for these children—becomes a major source of toxicity. These pathogenic microbes inside their digestive tract damage the integrity of the gut wall. So all sort of toxins and microbes flood into the bloodstream of the child, and get into the brain of the child.
That usually happens in the second year of life in children who were breast fed because breastfeeding provides a protection against this abnormal gut flora. In children who were not breastfed, I see the symptoms of autism developing in the first year of life. So breastfeeding is crucial to protect these children .
If the child's brain is clogged with toxicity, the child misses that window of opportunity of learning and starts developing autism depending on the mixture of toxins, depending on how severe the whole condition is, and how severely abnormal the gut flora is in the child."
The research is clear in my opinion, it’s vital to your physical and mental health to maintain healthy gut microflora. Choice of foods can alter your microflora in a matter of days, for better or worse. The ideal way to optimize your gut flora is to include fermented foods in your daily diet. While most probiotic supplements contain no more than 10 billion colony-forming units, one serving of fermented vegetables can contain 10 trillion colony-forming units of bacteria. Fermented foods also give you a wider variety of beneficial bacteria, so all in all, it’s your most cost effective alternative
Fermented foods include natural yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, unpasteurized milk, unpasteurized cheese, miso, kimchee, kombucha, sour pickles, properly made sourdough bread, cream freshe. Its important to consume in raw, unpasteurized form as heating them kills the beneficial microorganisms.