Gut health, or lack of it, also effects your immune system. So people with poor gut health are more susceptible to sicknesses and viruses. Our prevalence as a society to become germaphobes allowed our immune systems, especially in younger americans, to never fully form. “Our anti-microbe mission has been accompanied, in industrialized countries, by an explosion in the prevalence of chronic noninfectious diseases and disorders. Diabetes, allergies, asthma, inflammatory bowel diseases, autoimmune diseases, autism, obesity and certain types of cancer are at an all-time high”. The consequences of our modern diet, excessive use of antibiotics and over sanitization have altered the microbes that affect our immune systems.
Military members with “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)” and traumatic brain injuries can and should be treated with better diets. Military members should eat more good fats such as olive oil, walnuts and flaxseeds which have been proven to reduce the risks of getting dementiaby 60 percent and improving brain health in general. Other ways to improve your health are probiotics.
The Department of Defense should ensure sweeping changes to include mandatory appointments with either functional medicine doctors, or military doctors certified in functional medicine or functional medicine health coaches. This would ensure the root causes of any diseases are found or the prevention of new diseases occur through proper diet and nutrition. The whole person approach is most effective. And since no person’s microbiome is the same as anyone else’s, foods also affect different people differently. As one doctor suggested, “it’s not we are what we eat, but we should eat for who we are.”
Gut bacteria can have tremendous effects on psychological or mental health. The digestive system is supposed to extract energy from what is eaten so if people are tired or run down constantly, it could mean the gut is out of balance. Also, 95 percent of serotonin, the mood-regulating neurotransmitter is located in the gut rather than the brain where most people believe it to be found. If one is moody, depressed or anxious there is more than likely a gut imbalance due to the symbiotic relationship with gut health and neuro-health. This bio-directional communication is what has been called the gut-brain axis. It’s influence on well-being and mental health is well known in the up and coming field of gastroneuroenterology. Bacteria living in the gut may influence the activity of cells in the brain remotely. These cells are involved in controlling neuro-degeneration and inflammation. Investigators have found evidence “ that food has some sort of remote control over central nervous system inflammation.”13Also, according to Dr. Tom Sult who is board certified in holistic medicine, “the same kinds of things that cause a leaky gut can cause a leaky blood-brain barrier. So now you have these same toxins leaking into your brain and you get all kinds of symptoms whether they are mood disturbances like depression or anxiety or just cognitive disturbances commonly called brain fog or almost acquired dyslexia kinds of symptoms”.
Other symptoms in the brain include dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. There are some in the medical community who are now calling Alzheimer’s type 3 diabetes.This is because insulin resistance causes brain damage. The brain is made of 60 percent fat with much of it being omega-3 fats. Good fats added to the diet are the best way to keep a healthy functioning brain. There are foods that have been shown to reverse dementia. Patients who ate very low-carb, low-grain, low-glycemic, high-fat diets reversed dementia when ten different case studies were reviewed. A lack of fat in the brain has also been attributed to “neurodegenerative diseases; mental disorders such as depression, suicide and aggressive behavior, [Attention Deficit Disorder] ADD and autism, stroke; and trauma”.