Welcome my friends to a new day and a New You! This is Sheri Turner- I am here to encourage, educate and help you to a healthier place in your life. Last week in the podcast SLEEP AND FUELING A HEALTHY BRAIN, I touched on:


-According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1/3 of Americans do not get enough sleep each night.

FUELING YOUR BRAIN - Remember you are what you eat. -  incorporating the right foods with certain nutrients and vitamins to build the powerful brain. - the key nutrients and vitamins. – I recommended a great plan to follow to keep your brain sharp in cognitive function, memory and alertness- the Mediterranean Diet. I provided a link. – I provided a few foods that you can add for brain health.

 I hope last week episode “woke you up” to the importance of sleep on your health and also the need to fuel your brain for optimum health!

This week, we are shifting our focus down to your digestive system (gut). Over the next few weeks, I will introduce you to the role of our gut in living with optimal health. Your Core- the muscles in and around your belly area. When you train the muscles in your pelvis, lower back, hips and abdomen to work in harmony by doing exercises this trains the muscles in those areas to work in harmony. This leads to better balance and stability in daily activities. I have heard it called the POWERHOUSE. Same is true of your gut- it truly is the powerhouse of health. For more info check out the link.

We will start with a quick review of the digestive system. We first have the stomach. It is the size of your fist. When full, the stomach can hold 4 liters (little less than a gallon) of food and liquid. It returns to the fist size when empty. The stomach receives the food, churns it and breaks it into tiny particles called "chyme." The stomach holds the food for 3-5 hours before it is released in small batches into the small intestine. The stomach requires a very acidic pH of 1.5 to 3 to maintain digestive health. The pH of our stomach is critical to the digestion of many nutrients and acts as defense against harmful bacteria and viruses. The stomach is a reservoir of strong acid, with a much lower pH than in any other part of our digestive system. This is perfect for the activation of enzymes that cause the breakdown of proteins into smaller protein fragments, which is the first step in digesting our food.  Most bacteria enter through the mouth and nose. (Please take note of this as we enter flu season and continue in COVID 19) The stomach is the first defense because it contains acid and enzymes that dissolve the protein coats of bacteria, either killing them or leaving them vulnerable to our immune responses.

- The small intestine, also known as the small bowel, runs from your stomach to your large intestine. The small intestine has three sections: the duodenum, the jejunum and the ileum. The small intestine, ranges from 20 to 30 feet long and is about 1 inch in diameter. It has many folds that allow it to fit into the abdominal cavity. One end of the small bowel is connected to the stomach and the other to the large intestine. The major part of the digestive process and absorption of nutrients from food takes place in the small intestine. Partly digested food (chyme) passes from the stomach to the small intestine, where the final digestive processes occur. Nutrients, vitamins, minerals and water are absorbed by its lining. The small intestine will have absorbed about 90% of the ingested water.

- The large intestine, the long, tube-like organ that is connected to the small intestine at one end and the anus at the other. The large intestine has four parts: cecum, colon, rectum, and anal canal. Partly digested food moves through the cecum into the colon, where water and some nutrients and electrolytes are removed. The remaining material, solid waste called stool, moves through the colon, is stored in the rectum, and leaves the body through the anal canal and anus. The large intestine (colon or large bowel) is about 5 feet long and about 3 inches in diameter. Meals pass from the small to the large intestine within 8-9 hours of ingestion. The large intestine absorbs most of the remaining water, a process that converts liquid chyme residue into semi-solid stools or feces. The large intestine has three major functions: Absorption of water and electrolytes; Formation and transport of feces; Chemical digestion by gut microbes. The large intestine does not secrete its own digestive enzymes: in this part of the GI tract, chemical digestion occurs exclusively through the action of millions of colonic bacteria. Through fermentation, these bacteria break down some of the remaining carbohydrates, which releases the hydrogen, carbon dioxide and methane that create flatus (gas). Colonic bacteria also protect the intestine from potentially harmful bacteria coming from the external environment and can synthesize certain vitamins.


Microbiome- Think of a busy city on a weekday morning, the roads packed with people rushing to get to work or to appointments. Now imagine this at a microscopic level and you have an idea of what the microbiome looks like inside our bodies, consisting of trillions of microorganisms (also called microbiota or microbes) of thousands of different species. [1] These include not only bacteria but fungi, parasites, and viruses. In a healthy person, these “bugs” coexist peacefully, with the largest numbers found in the small and large intestines but also throughout the body. The microbiome is even labeled a supporting organ because it plays so many key roles in promoting the smooth daily operations of the human body.


“Seventy percent of the immune system is located in the gut,” says David Heber, MD, PhD, professor emeritus of medicine at UCLA Health. “Nutrition is a key modulator of immune function.”

Immune cells in the gut interact with the microbiome, the diverse array of bacteria and fungi that live in the gastrointestinal tract and are directly influenced by an individual’s diet and lifestyle.

The foods we eat affect the diversity and composition of bacteria in the gut, which in turn affect immune cells. Those gut bugs are healthiest and support strong immunity when their hosts (that’s us) consume plant foods that are high in fiber.


Microbes have learned to play very important roles in the human body. In fact, without the gut microbiome, it would be very difficult to survive.

A person is first exposed to microorganisms as an infant, during delivery in the birth canal and through the mother’s breast milk.  As we age, environmental exposures, medications and diet can change one’s microbiome to be either beneficial to health or place one at greater risk for disease. As you grow, your gut microbiome begins to diversify. Microbiota stimulate the immune system, break down potentially toxic food compounds, and synthesize certain vitamins and amino acids, including the B vitamins and vitamin K. For example, the key enzymes needed to form vitamin B12 are only found in bacteria, not in plants and animals.

- Large families of bacteria found in the human gut-stomach= 0-1,000 Viable bacteria per gram,                                                                                             - jejunum= 0-1,000 viable bacteria per gram, -ileum=100,000-100,000,000 viable bacteria per gram-aerobic and anaerobic, Colon= ten billion- 1 trillion viable bacteria per gram-strict anaerobic- bacteria that survive only in environments virtually devoid of oxygen   http://www.vivo.colostate.edu/hbooks/pathphys/digestion/basics/gi_bugs.html

“We’re used to thinking about microbes as enemies—as major threats to our health—but most microbes don’t cause disease. They actually help us live better,” says Wendy Garrett, professor of immunology and infectious diseases at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. “We are symbionts: human cells coexisting with bacterial cells, fungi, viruses, and parasites. We’re multispecies beings.”  https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/magazine/magazine_article/bugs-in-the-system/?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=Social&utm_campaign=Chan-Facebook-General

As your microbiome grows, it affects your body in a number of ways, including:


From the beginning -Digesting breast milk: Some of the bacteria that first begin to grow inside babies’ intestines are called Bifidobacteria. They digest the healthy sugars in breast milk that are important for growth.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4990546/,

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22606315/, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3671919/


Digesting fiber: Certain bacteria digest fiber, producing short-chain fatty acids, which are important for gut health. Fiber may help prevent weight gain, diabetes, heart disease and the risk of cancer.


Helping control your immune system: The gut microbiome also controls how your immune system works. By communicating with immune cells, the gut microbiome can control how your body responds to infection. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27231050/,  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28260787/

Helping control brain health: New research suggests that the gut microbiome may also affect the central nervous system, which controls brain function. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22968153/

There are a number of different ways in which the gut microbiome can affect key bodily functions and influence your health.


Summary: The gut microbiome refers to all of the microbes in your intestines, which act as another organ that’s crucial for your health. The microbiota is important for nutrition, immunity, and effects on the brain and behavior. It is implicated in a number of diseases that cause a disturbance in the normal balance of microbes.

Next week we will continue with signs of an unhealthy gut. We will go on to discuss areas to start the process of restoring a healthy gut microbiome.

I have linked all the research and topics today on my podcast page or blog area of refineMEntlife.me.

Your MOVE goal is 30 minutes/ 5 days this week. You will benefit from adding stretching before and after your MOVE time. You can use a chair or countertop to help balance if needed. Be aware of EVERYTHING you put into your mouth. It ALL counts. A few positive tweaks to your schedule, menu or lifestyle will add up to improved physical and mental health.

“Always trust your gut, it knows what your head hasn’t figured out yet.” Anonymous

This quote is also true about for microbiome. Feed it right for a healthy life.

It’s a New Day and you are becoming a New You! Keep up the good health fight!


Study COVID 19- A healthy microbiome builds a strong immune system that could help defeat COVID-19  https://theconversation.com/a-healthy-microbiome-builds-a-strong-immune-system-that-could-help-defeat-covid-19-145668