Fascinating article from The Independent  By Siobhan Norton.

No man is an island, they say. But even the biggest recluses among us are never alone – we are all, in fact, outnumbered. From the moment we are born, our bodies are colonised by other organisms – a vast population of microbes setting up home on our skin, inside our mouths and noses, and in our gut. So much so that only 10 per cent of the cells in our body are human cells.

It should come as no surprise then, that how our bodies work is less of a dictatorship and more of a democracy. All the bacteria living within our body have to co-operate to help things run smoothly and prevent civil war. This isn’t for free, of course. We feed the hungry little buggers – and in return they help to break down our food and convert it to energy, provide essential enzymes and vitamins, and regulate our immune system. The problems arise when the wrong kind of food helps the troublemakers to flourish at the expense of our healthy, helpful “good bacteria”.

So far, so yoghurt commercial. But scientists now say that the microbiome – the collected microorganisms – in our digestive system is more than a mulching factory for food, but in fact the “second brain” – which may be just as important as the first brain in our heads. Perhaps we already know this to some extent – we associate the gut with raw, instinctive emotions and reactions. Gut reactions, even. We know that if we’re stressed or anxious, this will be the first place we show symptoms of it, which makes sense. In times of fight or flight, the body will shut down its energy-sapping digestive processes to allow the energy to be diverted elsewhere.

A persistent problem nowadays, experts reason, is that we are in a constant state of stress or anxiety, so our gut never gets the chance to do its job properly. A 2011 study in Brain, Behaviour and Immunity suggested that stress alters the structure of the microbiome. A 2012 study indicated that, in turn, gut bacteria can affect our stress responses.

There is no denying that some very modern maladies are on the increase. Irritable bowel syndrome, that spectrum of general digestive unpleasantness, afflicts an estimated 10 to 20 per cent of the UK population. More serious, perhaps, are the inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis. A 2012 study published in the journal Gastroenterology indicated that inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs) are emerging as a global problem. Incidences are far higher in Europe and North America – although there is considerably less data from developing countries. Autoimmune diseases such as lupus, coeliac disease and type 1 diabetes are also on the rise. Between 2001 and 2009, the incidence of type 1 diabetes increased by 23 per cent, according to the American Diabetes Association. And, of course, there’s the No 1 Western problem – obesity.

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Strength:

Bench Press 65% x 8, 75% x 6, 80% x 4, 90% x 2

WOD:

3 rounds
1 min Max Cal. Row
1 min Max DB Step ups (20/24)(25s/50s)
1 min Max Abmat Sit Ups
1 min Rest

Skill: (Not for Time)
5 rounds
15 Hip Extensions on GHD
30 Sec. Handstand Hold

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