Bacteria In Your Gut? Great!

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Bacteria In Your Gut? Great!

August 22, 2019 Written by: Costectomy

We’ve all heard of bacteria—pesky microorganisms or ‘germs’ that make you sick. But did you know there are  some bacteria that are actually harmless – and possibly even beneficial to the body. Most of these bacteria live within your digestive system, or the ‘gut’. Scientists estimate that there are at least 5000 different kinds of bacteria that flourish in the gut. These bacteria, called the intestinal microbiome, play a crucial role in your overall health. It is important to maintain the correct ratio of good versus bad bacteria. An imbalance in this ratio (called dysbiosis) can lead to several diseases. Read on to find out more!

  •   Gut bacteria promote digestion

Gut bacteria can help digest food, including dietary fiber which they break into short-chain fatty acids. An imbalance in gut bacteria can cause symptoms of indigestion such as cramps, bloating and abdominal pain, and is believed to contribute toward inflammatory bowel disease (IBS).

  •   Gut bacteria can strengthen immunity and prevent autoimmune diseases

Gut bacteria can communicate with immune cells of the body and help them mount a response against infectious agents. Certain kinds of gut bacteria also help seal and maintain the tight junctions between intestinal cells. This prevents leakage of toxins from the gut to the rest of the body, which  helps protect the body against autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.

  •   Gut bacteria can help control weight

Gut bacteria play a part in the extraction of calories from food and in creating a feeling of fullness after eating . Studies show that gut dysbiosis is linked to weight gain. Consuming probiotics can help in  weight loss.

  •   Gut bacteria help reduce the risk of heart disease

Gut bacteria help increase the quantity of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) –  or ‘good fat’ – and decrease cholesterol. However, unhealthy bacteria can promote the formation of a chemical called trimethylamine-N-oxide, which plays a role in the development of blocked arteries.

  •   Gut bacteria can lower blood sugar levels

Since gut bacteria are involved in extracting calories from food, they can help maintain blood sugar levels. Studies show the quantity and diversity of gut bacteria declines in patients prior to the onset of diabetes.

To maintain a healthy gut, make sure that you have an adequate intake of probiotics – like  yoghurt. Avoid the unnecessary use of antibiotics, as they can destroy beneficial microbes and promote harmful ones.

REFERENCES

  1. Kennedy PJ, Cryan JF, Dinan TG, Clarke G. Irritable bowel syndrome: a microbiome-gut-brain axis disorder?. World J Gastroenterol. 2014;20(39):14105–14125. doi:10.3748/wjg.v20.i39.14105
  2. Rooks MG, Garrett WS. Gut microbiota, metabolites and host immunity. Nat Rev Immunol. 2016;16(6):341–352. doi:10.1038/nri.2016.42
  3. Aron-Wisnewsky J, Clément K. The gut microbiome, diet, and links to cardiometabolic and chronic disorders. Nature Reviews Nephrology. 2016 Mar;12(3):169.
  4. Kostic AD, Gevers D, Siljander H, et al. The dynamics of the human infant gut microbiome in development and in progression toward type 1 diabetes. Cell Host Microbe. 2015;17(2):260–273. doi:10.1016/j.chom.2015.01.001