So silently do these microorganisms work in the intestines, that we normally aren't even aware that there are living creatures living inside our innards. However, new light being thrown on these creatures shows there is a lot to the gut bacteria than we had ever imagined.
The intestinal tubes of the new-born body are bereft of bacteria --- they are not part of the biological heirloom the mother gifts to her child. But no sooner do the first drops of milk feed enter its mouth to travel down the gullet into the stomach, than something triggers the genesis of this wide diversity of microorganisms. As if out of thin air, these creatures come to populate the inner lining of the small-sized tubes that make up the lower end of the alimentary canal. By the time the infant turns one, an entire biome comprising several communities of the bacteria - totaling one hundred trillion, give-or-take a few billion here or there - makes the intestine (the large bowel to a greater extent than the small intestine) its home for a lifetime. That's about one to two kilos of your body weight. You talk of tensions between different races, ethnicities and religious profiles in the human populace; how will you react when told that there are about 1,800 genera and up to 40,000 species of bacteria coexisting peacefully in your very own gut? And yet, the biome, or gut biota, is a very serene universe in itself. Surprisingly, we have not been able to culture more than 60% of these bacteria in laboratory setting; these bacteria either exist in the bowel, or not at all. Given our intellectual prowess, that is saying something!
Up until now, it has been known that gut bacteria play an important role in medical conditions such as inflammatory bowel diseases, and even type 2 diabetes and obesity. Here is the latest insider information that immediately elevates the relative importance of these lowly bacteria even further. This is that the gut bacteria play an important role in mood and psychiatric disorders, too. In fact, study of the linkage between the gut biota, mood conditions and the pathogenesis of various medical conditions has given rise to a whole new discipline called "Microbial Endocrinology".
After birth, when the biota is in the process of being formed, nature endows it with an abundance of bacteria called "Bifidobacteria infantis". It has been discovered that when the gut is colonized by these bacteria within a specific timeframe (the timeframe variation is apparently a riddle wrapped in a mystery), we are somehow protected from depression as adults. Further, bifidobacteria treatment has been found to reduce the concentration of chemicals such as 5-HIAA and DOPAC and the elevation of chemicals such as tryptophan in key areas of the brain. The implication? Gut bacteria, the probiotic ones, especially like this bifidobacteria infantis, help alleviate psychiatric disorders. The conclusion? Gut bacteria are to be treated with respect!
And in what manner do we, unknowingly, treat them otherwise? By allowing ourselves to be stressed by external conditions and circumstances in our lives. Sensitive as they are to the mood of the host (meaning you); when you feel stressed, so do the bacteria, poor things. And when they are stressed, your entire stasis goes haywire. Psychiatric disorders are just another station away; don't worry, you will reach the station in double speed when your engine is fueled by the coal of stress.
In your own interest, therefore, treat your gut biota with respect. When meditating and praying every day, send prayers of love and affection to this tiny little universe residing within that functions very hard to make your life easy for you. And, don't take on too much stress!
[Talking of stress, has it occurred to you that it was not stress that you had come to planet Earth for? You had come to this earth as a tourist. And like a tourist who knows that they have to go back home one day, so therefore they do not take to heart any experience they encounter at their place of enjoyment... you too need to shrug off and not take to heart any experience that you get to encounter in your life. Here is one article that promises to put you in the right mood for the rest of your stay here on earth: "Relax, Let Go And Enjoy Your Stay".]