Telluride Women Give: Grundy on Gut Response

Telluride Women Give: Grundy on Gut Response

Telluride Women Give hosts first talk in series on topical issues in the fields of health of wellness. Event (in a private home) features Dr. Sharon Grundy on the hot subject of our micro biome. For further information about Telluride Women Give and to attend August 5 event, contact Telluride Medical Center Foundation director Kate Wadley, 970-729-1375.

In May 2015, Telluride Medical Center’s Medical Director of Primary Care, Dr. Sharon Grundy, attended a nutrition and health conference in Arizona lead by Dr. Andrew Weil, world-famous in the field of holistic health.

Dr. Sharon Grundy. Medical Director of Primary Care

Dr. Sharon Grundy. Medical Director of Primary Care, speaks at Telluride Women Give event.

The central theme of the event was the emerging science of the human gut microbiota and microbiome and the health of these symbiotic bacterial partners on our overall health. The lead speaker was Justin Sonnenburg of Stanford University, author of “The Good Gut: Taking Control of Your Weight, Your Mood, and Your Long-term Health.”

On Wednesday, August 5, 5 – 7 p.m., Kate Wadley of Telluride Medical Center Foundation and her newly formed philanthropic giving circle, Telluride Women Give, feature Dr. Grundy on the subject of our microbiome at a gathering in a private home.

What is the microbiota and the microbiome?

The microbiota is the community of bacterial and other organisms that inhabit our body: sinus, skin, and mouth and throughout our gastrointestinal tract. The largest community is located in the colon. The average human has approximately 1000 trillion microbes and the average American has 1200 different species. According to Dr. Weill,

This roughly two-pound community outnumbers our human cells (that is, the ones with our unique DNA profile) 10-fold. Further, the number of genes in all of those microbes’ genomes is roughly 100 times greater than the number in our human cell genome.”

The microbiome is the genetic finger print of the organisms that live in our guts. As your human genome is uniquely yours, no two gut micobiots are identical. In fact, they are as unique as finger prints.

And while we humans share similar DNA profiles, our microbiomes are radically different.

“…the number of microbial species that are unique to an individual far exceeds the number that is shared from person to person,” wrote Sonnenburg.

Our digestive system is much more than a collection of cells that help digest foods, it also contains a dense community of bacteria and other microbes that help further digest foods that are not digestible by the human system, which in turn help tune up the immune system and decrease systemic inflammation.

Dietary change toward processed foods, increased exposure to powerful antibiotics from food residue and medical treatments, and even the increased incidence of C-sections, (which deprive infants of exposure to vital microorganisms in the birth canal that seed the gut), all feed into the fact our micro biomes are becoming increasingly compromised. And such imbalances could underlie increased incidence of a wide variety of diseases and conditions from allergies to autoimmunity to obesity, type 1 diabetes, asthma, gluten sensitivity, even psychological and behavioral conditions.

The healing potential that will come from a better understanding of this complex internal ecosystem is just beginning to come to light. Sonnenburg envisions a world in which “microbiota typing” becomes a standard part of medical care. Sophisticated analysis of urine and feces would reveal the unique makeup of a person’s internal microbial community, which would in turn go a long way toward understanding why that person is sick and what might make him or her well again.

Thinking of ourselves as a super organism means we really are what we consume and that everything we put into our bodies is technically a prebiotic:

“…that is, material that will either enhance, maintain or undermine the health of your microbiome,” explains Weill.

To find out more about where the microbiota come from, implications of imbalances in the micro- biome, therapies to treat imbalances in this ecosystem, and how we can maintain a healthy community of bacteria within our system, essentially, per Grundy, “take care of your inner pets,” attend the talk (and become a member of Telluride Women Give).

For a preview of her talk and to learn more about Telluride Women Give, listen to my chat with Dr. Sharon Grundy.

More about Telluride Women Give:

Kate Wadley, executive director of the Telluride Medical Center Foundation, has long understood that when women collaborate and commit, they create change.

“This group is for women who want to invest and collaborate to create specific programs that make a difference in the lives of women, children and their families,” said Wadley.

Telluride Women Give members are kept abreast of health care issues affecting women and their families and solutions to improve their health and the well being of those they love.

“These women will assert that the greatest benefit is to the giver, as they themselves are provided opportunities to learn, share, and grow as philanthropists and community leaders,” said Wadley. “Using the power of collective philanthropy, the members’ annual contributions are pooled and the entire membership joins in deciding which program, project or new equipment at the Telluride Medical Center will be funded. Our efforts will drive innovative and often life-saving services and technology to make a difference now, for those we know and love,” Wadley added, continuing:

“It’s empowering to know there is so much momentum behind this movement to elevate the generosity of women into something even bigger than the individual parts.”

According to Wadley, women and men give for different reasons.

“Women are motivated to create change, have a connection, collaborate and to have a little fun.”

Wadley believes the Telluride community will see the benefit from the Telluride Medical Center Foundation’s giving circle in the form of grant dollars and informed, engaged donors and volunteers.

Ultimately, Wadley said, “the goal of Telluride Women Give is to build a culture of engagement and generosity and be the philanthropic choice for Telluride Women.”

More about Dr. Sharon Grundy:

Dr. Sharon A. Grundy is a board-certified internist, who underwent a fellowship in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona. She graduated from the University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine, in 1998 and works at the Telluride Medical Center, where she is Medical Director of  Primary Care, specializing in family and internal medicine. Dr. Grundy is also affiliated with Montrose Memorial Hospital. She is passionate about cancer prevention and has a major interest in skin care at altitude. She speaks English, Portuguese, and Spanish.

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