Difficult digestion, an illness of our times, not that of our ancestors

Difficult digestion, an illness of our times, not that of our ancestors

It is often said that back pain is the disease of the century. However, this would not be the only pain linked to our time. Our Paleolithic ancestors and the famous hunter-gatherers did not experience bloating or stomach aches. The fault lies in microbial biodiversity which has declined considerably as our diet includes fewer fruits and vegetables.

It is said to be the second brain. Our stomach, or rather our intestines, are populated by a multitude of microorganisms which form the famous microbiota that nutritionists recommend taking care of. You should eat fruits and vegetables rich in fiber and polyphenols, avoid red meat and prefer cooking with olive oil, as indicated by INRAE. In her famous bestseller sold worldwide under the title “The discreet charm of the intestine, all about an unloved organ”, the author Giulia Enders explains the existence of a link between the digestive system and the brain via the vagus nerve. In other words, we also feel good in the head when everything is good in the stomach.

But it’s not enough to think of the intestines as a kind of emotional brain. The times in which we live also play a considerable role in their state of health. This would therefore be less favorable to them. Because researchers have discovered that the intestinal microbiota of our ancestors was much healthier than ours. According to a study published in the journal Science, an international team of scientists from the European Research Council and the Israel Research Foundation reveals that the diets we follow in today’s industrialized (and even Westernized) societies are particularly lacking. of fibers. In this case, we are talking about fibers contained in plants.

The researchers focused in particular on cellulose, the most abundant organic molecule on earth and which lines the walls of a multitude of plants, trees and plants. Our intestinal microbiota is supposed to know how to break down cellulose. Several intestinal bacteria are known to fulfill this mission, except that after analyzing fecal matter from different periods of history, researchers realized that they were almost not present in the intestines of humans from industrialized societies. . Conversely, there was a plethora of them among primates, but also among Paleolithic populations and among hunter-gatherers.

And is it serious, Doctor? Above all, this conclusion potentially provides elements of an answer to stomach aches, difficult digestion and poor metabolic health in general among urban populations. Scientists have even gone so far as to deduce that “the intestines of urban populations around the world contain less microbial biodiversity than those of humans living in rural areas“. Is there a solution? Yes, answer the researchers, believing that it was “possible to intentionally reintroduce or enrich these species into the human gut through targeted dietary approaches and specialized probiotics“. In short, we are talking about food supplements or probiotics.

Natural probiotics: foods to preserve the intestinal flora

Slide: Natural probiotics: foods to preserve intestinal flora