Structural anomalies may contribute to a good share of our illnesses, it is our physiology though where disease manifests and symptoms develop indicating issues. Even structural problems may manifest symptomatically as pain or numbness both of which are functions of our physiology.

There are a multitude of functions that coordinate to maintain a state of equilibrium in the body. Individual organs and glands are responsible for secreting and responding to various hormones, neurotransmitters and enzymes, maintain body temperature, and blood pH balance.

Activities like digestion, metabolism, stress response, respiration, and energy production are constantly being regulated by various organ systems working in tandem. Physiological disturbances appear to be caused by three basic factors: deficiency, toxicity, and cellular miscommunication.

Adverse changes in our body’s chemistry lead to majority of illnesses that are diagnosed and treated in allopathic medicine. Traditional medicine systems like Ayurveda recognize the importance of fundamental bodily functions like digestion and detoxification to be key players in one’s health.

Latest research has confirmed how issues leading to poor digestion and systemic toxicity alter our microbiota leading to a domino effect of problems viewed and treated as unrelated by current medical system. Although functional medicine, a newly emerged subdivision of medicine, attempts to bring latest research into practice, its practitioners may still suffer from micromanaging symptomatology.

How dietary deficits compromise gut flora

Factors that lead to a compromised gut microbiome are multifaceted. Nutrient deficient soil set the stage for deprecated food quality resulting in nutrient-deficient food-products. Industrial farming practices add toxic residues to our food because of the use of pesticides and fertilizers. Food supply chain adds processing, genetic engineering, and chemical additives to impart unique taste and flavor and extending shelf-life of items sold for human consumption.

Genetically engineered food adds the ultimate assault to our food while the consumer remains uninformed of the confirmed dangers that consuming such items pose to our health. Regulatory agencies remain partial to the food industry limiting the information that goes in labeling GE foods.

Add pollution of the air and water along with assault from household chemical use and you have the modern human living in a cocktail of toxins all but disconnected from nature’s wisdom. This disconnect goes deep into our gut, literally.

Why cellular communication is important

So far we have discussed toxicity and deficiency being the twofold factors that cause biochemical disturbance. Then there’s the third one in which thousands of  species of microbes that inhabit our mucosa can’t perform their jobs well.

There are an estimated 37 trillion cells in an average human body 90 percent of which don’t belong to the host. Yes, we have nine cells belonging to microbes for each of our own cell! This is no surprise considering we evolved alongside these microorganisms for billions of years.

It is believed that the approximately three thousand mitochondria that each of our cells contain were once simpler forms of independent bacteria. Their function was simply to take food from their environment, covert it to energy, and excrete the waste. Later in our evolutionary history these smaller bugs integrated into the cells of more complex animals continuing their jobs of energy generation.

These trillions of bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites work together with the mitochondria in our cells. They generate neurotransmitters, synthesize vitamins, aid in digestion, manufacture antioxidant enzymes according to the needs of the host. They communicate via a signalling mechanism called Redox potential to work coherently so our body can maintain homeostasis.

Problems ensue when this Redox signaling communication network is disturbed. Not only can our gut microbes not communicate with one another, they can’t send information back and forth the mitochondria in our cells.

These creates imbalances in the microbiota causing malfunction in the circuitry that keeps our biochemistry in homeostasis. In a future topic, we’ll look at how lack of communication at large affects us at more than biochemical level.