Catalyst – ‘Gut Reaction’ Part 1 (2014)

The medical community has long professed the numerous risk factors associated with an unhealthy diet. The foods we eat can play a primary role in determining our vulnerability towards many potentially life-threatening conditions including obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.

But current nutritional research studies are examining the links between diet and chronic disease from a promising new perspective: the interactions between the bacteria in food and our gut.

According to the revealing insights presented in the new documentary Gut Reaction, the key to disease prevention may lie in how we chose to nourish the bacteria that resides in our intestines. For many years, science regarded bacteria in much the same way as the public at large. Bacteria were viewed as nasty and threatening parasitic life forms that must be avoided and protected against at all costs. Just a few short years ago, however, modern technologies allowed us a peek into the inner workings of the microbial world like never before.

Through extensive study which remains ongoing, we’ve come to understand the many benefits associated with the bacteria which exists within our bodies. This “good” bacteria regulates our immune system and determines our defenses against potentially harmful bacteria from the outside world. In so doing, it also maintains a crucial role in the areas of mental and physical wellness.

Gut Reaction shows us how nature works to acclimate us to the presence of beneficial bacteria from the very beginning stages of life. Through the process of vaginal childbirth, the newborn is awash in the healthy bacteria of their mother, and this creates a sanctuary from which they can build defenses against harmful environmental elements. Researchers now believe that the alarming rise in cesarean births has denied many infants of this security, and increased incidents of asthma, allergies and other chronic conditions have been the result. This dynamic carries on into adulthood and is often reflected by the foreign and unhealthy bacteria that dwell in many of the foods we eat.

Could our bacteria be the ultimate barometer for measuring our risks for the world’s most catastrophic diseases? Gut Reaction captures the promises of this exciting new realm of nutritional research, and suggests a fresh approach to the ailments that limit our longevity as a species.