NEW SCIENCE HAS REVEALED THAT OUR GUT MAY BE THE MOTHERBOARD FOR OUR ENTIRE BODY — AND NUTRITIONISTS ARE SCRAMBLING TO DESIGN THE DIET OF THE FUTURE.

couple years ago, Canadian triathlete Kirsten Sweetland hit the wall of all walls. This was no ordinary endurance athlete bonk—the 28-year-old literally went from being ranked fifth in the world to struggling just to get out of bed in the morning. “I was sleeping 18 hours a day and my brain just stopped,” she remembers. “Writing a one-sentence text would take me 10 minutes and my limbs were numb. I knew there was something wrong with me, I just couldn’t figure out what.”

One of the only things Sweetland did know for sure was that her gut microbiome—the ecosystem of flora and fauna that resides in the pathway that food travels from our mouths into our stomachs and then out the other end—was in a very bad way. She, along with several fellow triathletes, had picked up a parasite during the swim leg of a race in Sweden in 2014. And despite finishing fourth, with a strong shot at the overall tour podium, it was actually the beginning of the end for her. It came on slowly at first—just fatigue and upset stomach—but eventually crushed her.