The gut is increasingly treated by scientists as an organ in its own right. Each gut contains diverse bacteria, many of which are vital—breaking down food and toxins, making vitamins and training our immune systems. Many major neurotransmitters and brain proteins are found in the gut. Furthermore, the gut contains 100 million neurons (more than are to be found in the spinal cord). It seems that our gut is a highly complex biological system—it is not simply our full or empty “tummy”.
As we come to the end of this brief journey through the interplay in human biology, environment, psychology and neurobiology, it is important that we understand and have appreciation for the role played by the basic building block of biology: the gene. We must acknowledge the critical role played by numerous genetic variations and epigenetic regulations. They play a role (in complex interaction) not only in creating and sustaining a healthy body, but also in creating multifactorial dis-eases– such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. This genetic dysfunction is the focus of much current research and is proving to be a huge challenge: adding to the vast array of reasons why some people have more health disruption than others.
As in the case of all forms of human biology (and the biology of all living entities) the role played by genetics can never be separated from the role played by both the environment in which the neonate lives in their mother’s womb and the environmental factors that influence development after birth. The nature/nurture debate is no longer viable. A highly interactive model of human life (and human health) is now dominant in our understanding of and appreciation for the complex interplay between genetics, the womb and life experiences. Adult health depends on an interweaving of inheritance, nutrition and the physical and social environment throughout prenatal development and childhood—an important lesson to be conveyed to a client by a knowledgeable health-based coach.Download Article 1K Club