Your gut should be home to over 100 billion bacteria, but antibiotics, pesticides, stress, and genetically-modified foods are just a few of the things that can weaken that diversity.  Your gut’s bacteria needs to stay healthy or problems like irritable bowel syndrome, gluten allergies, and even obesity can be more likely. Some even think the recent rise in autism, Alzheimer’s, and multiple sclerosis could even be connected to an unhealthy gut!  Let’s look at just 3 reasons why healthy gut flora are so important.
- Discourages Crohn’s Disease
Crohn’s disease is often difficult to diagnose from stool samples, but the key to the disease could be found inside the gut. Researchers looked at tissue samples from the intestinal walls of “447 newly affected and 221 non-affected people” and found an overabundance of certain bacteria types was linked to inflammation levels.  That’s just more reason to encourage healthy gut flora!
2. Promotes Digestion and Digestive Health
This is the big one most people are aware of and it probably comes as no surprise that bacteria levels inside your gut can help with digestion. Recent evidence suggests a healthy and diverse microbiome could even help with intestinal integrity.  Basically, that’s how the body separates the good from the bad. A healthy gut only allows what’s useful to pass through to the body.
- Supports Mental Health
When you eat a big meal, you stop when you’re full, right? Well, a healthy gut could even help your brain know when you’ve had enough by releasing specific satiety hormones.  It could also play a role in depression and anxiety.  Recent evidence even suggests a link between gut health and autism, with researching showing that probiotic treatments could help autistic children by improving bacteria levels.  Scientists are finding more and more about this gut-brain connection all the time!
One Final Thought
So how can you support healthy flora? Well, you could roll around on the bathroom floor to get your dose of bacteria (or any other floor, for that matter.)  But then, that seems a little extreme, and you’d be getting all the bacteria–good and bad. Recent evidence suggests a good diet and exercise could influence gut flora, so why not start a new fitness habit?  Of course, you could always just turn to probiotic-rich foods like fermented vegetables and yogurt. A high quality probiotic supplement is another surefire way to bridge the gaps in your diet.
What would you do to encourage healthy gut flora? Tell us in the comments!
- Johnston, K. Endangered Species: Your Gut Flora. Epoch Times.
- Bhattacharjee, S. & Walter, W. J. Alzheimer’s disease and the microbiome. Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience. 7 (153).
- Moyer, M. W. Gut Bacteria May Play a Role in Autism. Scientific American. 25 (5).
- Bhargava P. & Mowry, E. M. Gut microbiome and multiple sclerosis. Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports. 14 (10).
- Gevers, D. et al. The Treatment-Naive Microbiome in New-Onset Crohn’s Disease. Cell Host & Microbe. 15 (3).
- Christensen, E. G. Dietary xylo-oligosaccharide stimulates intestinal bifidobacteria and lactobacilli but has limited effect on intestinal integrity in rats. BMC Research Notes.
- Bohórquez, D. V. et al. Neuroepithelial circuit formed by innervation of sensory enteroendocrine cells. Journal of Clinical Investigation.
- Foster, J.A. & McVey-Neufeld, K.A. Gut-brain axis: how the microbiome influences anxiety and depression. Trends in Neurosciences. 36 (5).
- Kang, D. et al. Reduced Incidence of Prevotella and Other Fermenters in Intestinal Microflora of Autistic Children. PLoS ONE.
- Patterson, P. et al. Microbiota Modulate Behavioral and Physiological Abnormalities Associated with Neurodevelopmental Disorders. Cell. 155 (7).
- Gibbons, S. M. et al. Ecological succession and viability of human-associated microbiota on restroom surfaces. Applied and Environmental Microbiology.
- Clarke, S. F. et al. Exercise and associated dietary extremes impact on gut microbial diversity. Gut.
Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM has studied natural healing methods for over 20 years and now teaches individuals and practitioners all around the world. He no longer sees patients but solely concentrates on spreading the word of health and wellness to the global community. Under his leadership, Global Healing Center, Inc. has earned recognition as one of the largest alternative, natural and organic health resources on the Internet.