Bio-diversity of our guts- A Yellow Stone National Park inside us.

How many of you know the famed story of Yellow Stone National Park? Between 1872- 1926 When the wolves were hunted to extinction, the ecological balance of the National Park went completely haywire. The river course altered, the number of grazing animals rose dramatically, certain indigenous and key tree species stopped releasing new growths. Nobody had any idea what was causing this dysfunction. Then a pack of rescued wolves was released and settled into the park. And yes, you know where this leads. In 1995, the re-introduction of the wolves trigged a dramatic rejuvenation of the ecosystem. 70 years of wolf free time, Yellow Stone suffered. And within a short time period, the ecosystem started restoring its balance naturally. Every piece of the ecosystem stands in fine balance.

For those who wish to know more about the Yellow Stone story, here are two documentaries we saw and enjoyed.


Fermented foods always trigger the Yellow Stone Wolves analogy in my head.

The insides of your intestines has a phenomenal number of microbes- bacteria, virus, yeast and eukaryotes. Just that bacteria are the most studied, so we often think of probiotics as GOOD GUT BACTERIA.

Your intestines have a fantastic plethora of microbes- a balance of good and bad ones. The key word is balance.  Its like a Yellow Stone in your belly! Nature intended for that balance to be maintained seamlessly, but so many things have caused disruption to that ecosystem. Two among these are-

  1. Move to Urban living: There are several studies which have documented the move from Rural/ Semi urban settings to Urban areas and its impact on diversity of gut microbes. The most interesting one I found was this one in The Cell. Basically, as people moved from Semi urban Thailand to USA, they lost close to 30% of their gut microbiome diversity almost immediately.

The air, the lack of immediate hands on interaction with nature, the altered food sources- all contribute to the issue. I ask you a simple question: Reflect and think, when was the last time you walked barefoot in soil?

Here is the link to the article in The Cell, for those interested

  1. Rise in C Section births- Vaginal deliveries provide babies with a download of the right bacterial mix from the mothers reproductive passages. When they are born thru C Section procedures, they get coated with skin bacteria. These have a vastly different composition to the vaginal bacteria.


Carry a few thoughts with you today.

  1. Consumption of Fermented Foods help to an extent, in restoring that bio diversity inside us. This is especially true if they are wild fermented. This means that naturally occurring Microbes are the fermenting agents. This ensures diversity.


  1. Single strain probiotic pills are never a good idea- unless being used for a specific treatment under medical supervision.


  1. Your body knows the difference between pills are food. Probiotic pills are great if you have specific ailments to resolve. Eat the pills under medical supervision, if required.


  1. Science does not know every single interaction within complex ecosystems and its impact on our bodies. Even fermented foods must be consumed in moderation and ensure you rotate across a wide variety regularly.


More in future articles.

Bhavani Suryavanshee

Director – Nature Nudge Wellness Pte ltd

Makers of hand crafted fermented foods in Singapore



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