What Is the Role of the Gut Microbiota?
Have you ever given serious thought to the health of your digestive system?
If you have, you probably know that our large intestine is responsible for making sure that we absorb as many nutrients from the foods we eat, and that this environment needs healthy bacteria to be able to carry out proper digestion.
Hippocrates who is considered the father of Western Medicine stated that all disease begins in the gut, and I am sure you have heard it said that we are what we eat.
I always take this expression a step further and say we are what we can breakdown and absorb, because if we are not breaking down our food properly and absorbing the minerals, vitamins and nutrients we need our health will be compromised.
We’re only 10% human
Our gut microbiota (bacteria/gut flor) good and bad – also known as the microbiome helps with digestion and absorption of some nutrients and this is one of the most important things we need to talk about in relation to digestive health.
Wikipedia’s definition of the microbiota is: “the ecological community of commensal, symbiotic and pathogenic microorganisms that literally share our body space.”
That’s right. We are actually only 10% human, the rest of us are bacteria. Your large intestine is home to 100 trillion bacteria of more than 1000 different kinds, our bacteria outnumber our own cells by 9 to 1.
We have good and bad bacteria and the bad bacteria do have a role to play – we need about 85% good bacteria.
Our gut flora population begins at birth with fluid from the birth canal and develops during a baby’s first months, so it is important for the mother to have good gut flora to ensure that the baby has the best possible start to their immune system.
Our bacteria consumes material to grow and multiply and when our diet is poor and contains too much sugar.
The bad bacteria feed on the sugar and multiply and overtake the good bacteria, they then produce by-products and waste which can lead to toxic overload.
Think of your microbiome as a garden
Antibiotics, sugar and a poor diet cause devastation and allow weeds to overtake the garden (the bad bacteria), pro-biotics are the seeds and pre-biotics are the lawn food that allow the garden to flourish.
Research has shown that patients with function bowel disorders have an altered gut microbiome and the diversity of the microbiome is compromised.
So far our bacteria have also been linked to 160 genes, they are a switch for genes that affect our mucosal barrier function and nutrient absorption and this affects our digestive function, has an impact on obesity, heart health, our immune system and how we deal with environmental factors.
Our friendly bacteria
Our friendly bacteria is essential, they help to produce many vitamins, improve the efficiency of our digestive system, encourage proper bowel function, strengthen our immune system and protect us from “bad” bacterial overgrowth and parasites.
Therefore having the right levels of good bacteria is essential to our health and the health of our digestive system.
A great quality multi-strain probiotic helps to replenish healthful micro-organisms. This is especially useful after using antibiotics that indiscriminately destroy both good and bad bacteria in the body.
It is important to take a high potency, multi-strain supplement with a built-in prebiotic to nourish and spread the bacteria throughout the gut.
Look for a probiotic that includes a lactobacillus strain as this releases unique enzymes which help to break down larger milk proteins for absorption and Bifidobacterium strains which help to create B vitamins.
Helping the good bacteria
Having a good combination of the right bacteria and multiple strains is essential to help replenish and then maintain the right levels of good bacteria.
Most of the pro-biotics that are available are not “live” and have additives and fillers, and most of the commercially produced pro-biotic drinks have sugars added that destroy the bacteria.
Avoid damaging foods such as gluten, sugar, caffeine and processed foods. Include probiotic foods in your diet which feed to good bacteria and provide prebiotics, such as asparagus, bananas, onions, garlic, cabbage, leeks, artichokes, apples and root vegetables.
A quick recap:
– Good health begins with balance in the intestinal system.
– Our microbiota helps maintain the delicate balance in the intestines.
– Healthy gut flora helps us to digest and absorb proteins, and produce B vitamins.
– Our microbiota helps to protect the gut wall and prevent more harmful organisms from establishing themselves.
– The delicate balance of healthy gut flora can be disrupted by a number of circumstances, including the use of antibiotics, excess alcohol, stress, disease and exposure to environmental toxins.
Good digestion is the key to good health, and a good balance of natural live bacteria helps to maintain a healthy balance of gut flora.
Get started on improving your digestion by clicking here, and finding out how I can help create a bespoke plan for you, and get you started straightaway on your journey to great digestion and optimal health, happiness and abundance.
Connect with Expert Kerry Madgwick