What are gut bacteria and why are they so important to gut health?
Gut flora or bacteria are the microbe population living in our intestines. They consist of tens of trillions of microorganisms of which there are 1000 different types of known bacteria with more than 3 million genes (150 times more than human genes). Bacteria in our gut can weigh up to 2 kg. A third of our gut bacteria is familiar to most people, while two-thirds are exclusive to each one of us. Meaning, that the bacteria in your intestine are unique to each of us, just like our fingerprints are.
Gut bacteria are an essential factor in our lives and in the way our bodies perform.
While every one of us has original gut bacteria, their function remains the same and has a direct impact on our health and well-being.
Their functions are:
• Stress Management
By managing our stress we can see an overall improvement in gut health. A reduction in inflammation, reduction of cortisol levels and enhanced gut health are all a result of stress reduction.
There is no quick fix to stress management, it’s a case of finding what works for you. Sleep deprivation increases cortisol levels which are harmful to the gut, therefore sleep plays an important role in gut health by reducing cortisol levels in our body.
Improve Your Gut, Improve Your Life
Studies have been carried out to link gut problems with physical and mental issues. By healing your gut you are healing yourself from the inside out. The formula for establishing gut harmony is. To steer clear of toxic foods and substances, include fermented foods and probiotics, and manage your stress levels. This is not a quick fix, but will eventually improve your overall gut health. Improving your gut will be the first step to changing your life
- To aid in the digestion of foods that the stomach and the small intestine are unable to.
- To aid with the manufacture of vitamins (B and K).
- To Help to fight attacks from different microorganisms, whilst maintaining the integrity of the intestinal mucosa.
- It has an important role in the gut barrier within the immune system.
- A healthy equilibrium of gut bacteria is key to ensuring the digestive system functions properly.
A newborn’s gut is sterile, therefore the colonization of the digestive system commences after birth and develops with us.
A baby’s digestive system is colonized by microorganisms from the mother during delivery, environment, the air, and so forth.
It continues to develop throughout our lives and can be affected by numerous environmental issues and diet.
Even though it can adjust to change, loss of gut bacteria can emerge in some circumstances. This might be connected to medical issues, for example, bowel disorders, inflammatory bowel diseases, allergies, obesity and diabetes.
Research demonstrates the positive effects of prebiotics and probiotics on gut bacteria. Prebiotics enhance the working of bacteria by providing them with sustenance while permitting them to multiply and increase the motility of various good bacteria. Prebiotics are present in some fermented foods, like, yoghurt, probiotics help gut bacteria maintain equilibrium, reliability and multiplicity.
What happens when the equilibrium in the gut becomes out of sync?
Our gut bacteria help support our health yet it can become our foe. Unbeknown to us what we eat and how we live is altering the DNA of our gut bacteria.
New research has been done to explore the relationship between gut bacteria and health. The result is conclusive, change your gut then you change your health.
How to recognise when there is an issue with our gut bacteria and what can be done to help.
Good bacteria present in the gut improve the digestion of foods stuffs, whilst supporting the immune system and assisting in the synthesis of the vitamins that our body requires. Then again, bad gut bacteria can cause a host of digestion problems, mental health issues, and skin complaints, these are only a few problems associated with poor gut health.
Improving gut health isn’t achieved by trying to eliminate gut bacteria from our bodies. It’s achieved by creating an equilibrium that encourages the good bacteria to multiply and reduces the presence of bad bacteria.
What to look out for
Digestive Issues such as:
- Heartburn/acid reflux
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease (including Crohn’s and Ulcerative colitis)
Mental Issues such as:
- Depression and anxiety
- Brain fog
Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies
When gut bacteria are out of sync, the body has difficulty obtaining sufficient amounts of these essential vitamins and minerals:
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin B12 and B7
Overuse of antibiotics can create gut issues. They are used randomly within the food industry on factory-farmed animals. Antibiotics kill bacteria which means we get rid of not only the bad but also the good gut flora which play an important role in our health. Studies have shown that good bacteria are eradicated by antibiotics and are not replaced unless intervention is taken to replace them.
Chronic, Neglected Stress
Stress has a big impact on the body causing exhaustion, anxiety, and hypertension all have a big impact on your gut. Stress is unavoidable. But left unmanaged it causes cortisol levels to rise, which can impede healthy gut function.
Some skin conditions arise from a poorly functioning gut. Conditions like:
Some studies have linked autoimmune diseases to unhealthy guts. Studies showed that people with following autoimmune diseases noticed that their symptoms reduced when they looked after their gut:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Inflammatory bowel disease
Simple Steps help to Balance our Gut Bacteria
Continuing with habits that kill off the good bacteria in our gut, leaving an environment for bad bacteria to grow leading to a breakdown in the integrity of their gut lining.
Therefore the first step to improve gut health is to avoid toxic foods. These include:
- Conventional grain-fed dairy
- Sugars, including fructose
- Unhealthy oils
A diet focused on vegetables, animal protein, and fruits, creates a habitat in the gut that’s suitable for the good bacteria to thrive in and an inhospitable environment for bad bacteria.
Sugar, drugs and other toxins should be avoided in an attempt to preserve a healthy gut.
Things to watch out for are:
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Diclofenac and Ibuprofen
- Antibiotics (if possible)
Eat Fermented Foods
Now the gut bacteria need to be nurtured to flourish. Fermented foods help nourish the gut’s bacteria.
- Lacto-fermented fruits and vegetables
- Non-pasteurized yoghurt, cheese, and kefir
These need to be introduced into our diets gradually otherwise the gut does not have time to adjust and can react to these foods
Take Probiotic Supplements
Gut health can be re-established quicker by ingesting a probiotic supplement every day.
Compared to our ancestors we live in a sterile environment, whereas they were not worried about food hygiene as we are today. By neglecting their hygiene they were able to maintain a healthy amount of good gut bacteria.
I recommend Pharmanex Pro-B as a daily probiotic supplement