Is there Bad Bacteria in my Gut ?


Background

According to Hippocrates, the ancient Greek Physician and the father of modern medicine, “All diseases begins in the gut”. We know that this quote is not 100% true because certain disease such as genetic diseases do not start in the gut. What we do know to be true is that many diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease do start in the gut.

We have between 300 and 500 different kinds of bacteria with almost 2 million genes. Along with over 100 trillion other tiny organisms like viruses and fungi that makes up the microbiome and ¾ of our immune system. It is important to note that each person's microbiome is unique and results from your mother’s microbiome, the environment that you were exposed to at birth and your diet and lifestyle.

Bacterial Function

While bacteria live in your entire body, the ones in your gut have the biggest impact on your health. And hence, the gut is also known as the second brain. They are in your entire digestive system with most living in the intestine and colon. They determine how many calories you get from food and what kinds of nutrients you draw from it. They protect us from infections, support our metabolism, promote healthy digestion and elimination, and also affect your mood and your overall immune system. Majority of these organisms are not good bacteria – some are damaging and lack of bacterial diversity. This is usually due to a poor diet and other factors such as:

  • Consumption of antibiotics, birth control, anti-depressants, antacids, etc.;

  • Chronic Stress, which can alter digestive secretion, gut permeability, blood flow, sensitivity, and even change bacterial composition;

  • Exposure to environmental toxins.

Bacteria and Diseases

Scientific research have linked diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease inflammatory bowel diseases such as crohn’s and ulcerative colitis to bacteria in your gut. People with these conditions are believed to have lower levels of certain anti-inflammatory gut bacteria.

Signs that your Gut is Unhealthy

Weight changes, either gaining or losing weight without making changes to your diet or exercise habits may be a sign of an unhealthy gut. This can affects your body’s ability to absorb nutrients, regulate blood sugar, and store fat

  • Stomach irritation such as gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and heartburn can be signs of an unhealthy gut

  • Diet high in sugar & processed foods can reduce the amount of good bacteria in your gut. This can create sugar cravings, which can increase inflammation and cause damage to your gut

  • Poor quality of sleep or ongoing fatigue

  • Skin irritation such as eczema may be related to a damaged gut

  • Food intolerance, where it is difficult to digest certain foods which is caused by an immune system reaction to certain foods

  • Autoimmune conditions, research have found that your gut health impacts your immune system that can lead to autoimmune diseases

What you do to improve your gut bacteria

  • Change your diet by reducing the amount of processed and high-sugar foods and consume more plant based foods

  • Reduce stress

  • Get enough sleep

  • Chewing your food slowly, which can help promote full digestion and absorption of nutrients.

  • Drink plenty water helps to balance good gut bacteria

  • Take a prebiotic or probiotic supplement can improve your gut health. Prebiotics provide “food” meant to promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut, while probiotics are live good bacteria.

  • Adding fermented food adds good bacteria or probiotics to your gut as good bacteria grows during the fermentation process. Fermented foods include:

  • Kimchi

  • sauerckaut

  • kefir

  • Kombucha

  • miso

  • tempeh

  • yogurt

Source -Healthline, Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, WebMD and Huffington Post, an excerpt from Go With Your Gut —-


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