How to have good gut bacteria
Confused about what to eat and what not to eat? Live yoghurt is an excellent source of so-called friendly bacteria, also known as probiotics. Look out for sugar-free, full-fat versions and add your own fruit for a tasty breakfast. Yoghurt drinks can contain high numbers of bacteria that are good for the gut, far more than you would find in a normal yoghurt. Do be mindful though as they can have a high sugar content.SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: 11 Ways To Clean Gut Bacteria
SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: Gut bacteria and weight loss: Mayo Clinic RadioContent:
In many ways, your gut bacteria are as vast and mysterious as the Milky Way. About trillion bacteria, both good and bad, live inside your digestive system.
Collectively, they're known as the gut microbiota. Science has begun to look more closely at how this enormous system of organisms influences—and even improves—health conditions, from heart disease to arthritis to cancer. But understanding how the gut microbiota works, and how you may benefit, can be daunting. Elizabeth Hohmann of the infectious diseases division at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.
Within those trillions of gut bacteria are about 1, different species, represented by some 5, distinct bacterial strains. Everyone's gut microbiota is unique, but there are certain combinations and collections of bacteria that are found in healthy individuals. The main factors that affect your personal microbial mix are age, diet, environment, genes, and medications particularly exposure to antibiotics, which can deplete gut bacteria.
Your gut microbiota plays many roles. It metabolizes nutrients from food and certain medications, serves as a protective barrier against intestinal infections, and produces vitamin K, which helps make blood-clotting proteins.
But the gut microbiota may do much more. Most research has involved only preliminary animal studies; however, initial findings suggest gut bacteria may be the key to preventing or treating some diseases.
Since the gut microbiota is so complex, it is difficult to pinpoint certain bacteria as the most beneficial. Rheumatoid arthritis. Two studies from the Mayo Clinic suggest gut bacteria may predict susceptibility to rheumatoid arthritis RA as well as offer a possible treatment.
A study published online April 21, , by Genome Medicine looked for a biomarker of the disease. Researchers were able to isolate certain bacteria that are high in RA patients, but low in healthy individuals. A study published online April 13, , by PLOS ONE offered some evidence that a particular strain of the bacterium Lactobacillus johnsonii may protect against some cancers.
Scientists gave mice a mutation that is associated with a high incidence of leukemia, lymphomas, and other cancers. When treated with the bacterium, the mice developed lymphoma only half as quickly compared with a control group. Heart disease.
Research in the February Journal of Applied Microbiology found the bacterial strain Akkermansia muciniphila could prevent inflammation that contributes to fatty plaque buildup in arteries. Scientists believe the effect was due to a protein that blocks communication between cells in the inner lining of the gut. As a result, fewer toxins from a poor diet could pass into the bloodstream, which in turn reduced inflammation.
Immune system. In a study published online Nov. The gains were comparable to treatment with anti-cancer drugs called checkpoint inhibitors. What does all this mean?
Should you even be concerned about your gut microbiota? When the gut is happy, you are happy. Do not overuse antibiotics. Again, overusing antibiotics can deplete good gut bacteria. Don't be so quick to ask for antibiotics to fight viral ailments like the common cold, she says. Also, if your doctor prescribes one, ask if you really need it, what is the shortest treatment course, and whether there are alternative methods.
Eat more fermented foods. Bacteria are living organisms that need to eat. Other helpful dietary choices include naturally fermented foods containing probiotics live bacteria , such as sauerkraut, pickles, miso, certain types of yogurt, and kefir a yogurt-based drink. Probiotic supplements are another option. They are also touted as a remedy for common digestive problems like irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, and infectious diarrhea.
However, the science is still cloudy about their overall effectiveness for these and other related conditions. People with depressed immune function from late-stage cancer or chemotherapy should not take probiotics. Also, not all probiotic preparations are the same, so discuss the options with your doctor before you take one.
Fecal transplantation? Yes, it's real, and yes, it might help you fight a recurring type of gut infection. A fecal transplant involves inserting stool from a healthy donor into a person's gastrointestinal tract to treat recurrent colitis from Clostridium difficile infection, which causes inflammation in the colon and leads to diarrhea, cramping, and fever.
People with C. This is when fecal transplants are considered. Their job is to replenish good bacteria that have been killed by antibiotics. Fecal matter is not something people would normally consider "healthy," but human stool contains a variety of helpful bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other organisms. For the procedure, fecal matter is collected from a tested donor, mixed with saline, strained, and then placed into the colon by colonoscopy, endoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, or enema.
The longer the patient holds the transplanted stool, the more healthy bacteria are absorbed. A fecal transplant can also be administered in capsule form, or by a tubes going down the nose and into the stomach or small intestine.
Fecal transplants are not covered by most insurance, although the colonoscopy or other transplant procedure might be cov-ered on its own. Disclaimer: As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.
No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician. Harvard Men's Health Watch. Initial research suggests certain bacteria in your gut can prevent and treat many common diseases. Published: October, E-mail Address.
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The microbes in your gut can help you to get thinner, be happier and live longer. By Prof Tim Spector. Your gut microbiome is a vast community of trillions of bacteria and fungi that inhabit every nook and cranny of your gastrointestinal tract, and have a major influence on your metabolism, body weight, propensity to illness, immune system, appetite and mood. These microbes mostly live in your lower intestine the colon and outnumber all the other cells in your body put together.
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