WHAT IS MICROBIAL BALANCE?
A well-balanced microbiome benefits the entire body and is key to optimal health. A balanced microbiome has also been shown to lead to optimal cognitive function (for instance 90-95% of serotonin is produced in your gut!), a robust immune system, and a strong defense against environmental toxins. Microbiomes that lack diversity can leave us susceptible to inflammation throughout our bodies.
The thousands of bacteria, fungi, and other microbes that live in our body are essential contributors to our good health. They break down toxins, manufacture some vitamins and essential amino acids, and provide a barrier against invaders.
When these microbes are at their equilibrium, this is beneficial for our bodies across multiple dimensions.
2:1:7 Ratio is the ideal for our microbiome
Bacteria can be classified three different ways; good, bad, and opportunistic. Good bacteria regulates the function of the organs, and enhances resistance to diseases. Bad bacteria is known to invoke an adverse effect on the body. Opportunistic bacteria enhances the function of your body and stabilizes the microbial flora.
Classified bacteria and their function
Extensive research has been conducted in Japan in order to determine the ideal ratio for microbial balance. The ideal balance is said to be 20% for good bacteria, 10% for bad bacteria, and 70% for opportunistic bacteria.
As health consciousness increases, many people understand the importance of maintaining this 2:1:7 ratio within one’s microbiome. Bifidobacterium (considered a “good” bacteria) is a microorganism that ferments sugar to produce lactic acid and acetic acid, and can be said to be a representative of good bacteria along with "lactic acid bacteria". When it breaks down sugars in the intestines, it produces the organic acids’ acetic acid and lactic acid in a ratio of 3:2. This makes the intestinal pH acidic and suppresses the growth of bad bacteria. Bifidobacterium has an intestinal regulating effect and an immunomodulatory effect mainly in the large intestine, and as a result, it is said to be useful for allergic symptoms.
Microscopic image of microbiome
A healthy host–microorganism balance must be respected in order to optimally perform metabolic and immune functions and prevent disease development. Indeed, disturbances to the delicate host–microbe relationship may disrupt the development of the immune system, which may in turn result in diseases. The human skin is a complex barrier organ made of a symbiotic relationship between microbial communities in constant dialogue with the host by the virtue of complex signals provided by the innate and the adaptive immune systems. This mutualistic relationship leads to a well-controlled but delicate equilibrium, the microbiota, which is mandatory for healthy skin. However, the skin is constantly exposed to various endogenous and exogenous factors which potentially impact this balanced system, thereby creating pathophysiologically relevant situations. The lack of effective compensatory mechanisms could thereby ultimately lead to inflammatory skin conditions such as infections, allergies, or autoimmune diseases.
From a bacteriological point of view, our skin can be considered a culture medium. Its composition is mainly the consequence of our genetics, diet, lifestyle, and the area we are living in. As a result, each human’s skin is unique, and at a genus level, each microbiota present in the different areas of our skin is unique.
WHAT HAPPENS IF IT IS UNBALANCED?
When we have too much bad bacteria or not enough good bacteria, this can disrupt functions within the body and lead to immune deficiencies, leaving us vulnerable to infections and other ailments caused by bacterial overgrowth.
However, due to stress, reduction of good bacteria due to aging, unbalanced diet, etc., and bad bacteria may become dominant and the balance of the intestinal flora may be disturbed.
When a group of putrefactive bacteria, which is a representative of bad bacteria, becomes dominant, it decomposes proteins and causes them to putrefy, leading to illness. A healthy gut plays an important role in not only maintaining your GI tract, but protecting your entire body from a state of dysbiosis; promoting better sleep, influencing mood, producing crucial vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, reducing joint and muscle pain, and clearing acne and eczema in addition to countless other benefits. As aforementioned, 90-95% of serotonin is produced in the gut, and the gut plays an imperative role in the interrelational gut-skin-brain axis. Although researchers are still in the process of ironing out the more refined details pertaining to this integral correlation, we are aware that a connection most certainly exists. When the bacterial colonies within the gut are balanced, they promote a healthy enzymatic breakdown of the food you eat, followed by a robust dispersion of nutrients and vitamins to the rest of your body. When this system is unbalanced and dominated by bad bacteria, it can lead to decay as well as the uninhibited entrance of toxins into your bloodstream, causing the destruction of the equilibrium and progression of illness and disease.
Increase of bad bacteria creates imbalance
THE BALANCE TEACHES US LESSONS BEYOND INDIVIDUAL WELLNESS?
The bacterial balance ratio of 2:1:7 is an ideal equilibrium for the microbiome to sustain. As we live in a society with more and more divisive opinions and ideas, this ratio of equilibrium gives us a fresh look at opposing issues in our society.
When the intent of both ends of an argument is to do its best to serve, it might be a healthy compromise that will lead to the long term sustainable solution rather than arguing to completely eradicate the other.
Duality required critical balance
At intō, we learn from this balance to challenge the status quo. When conundrum is inevitable, we must learn to find the balance between them just like a microbiome finds its ratio of 2:1:7.