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How Does The Gut Microbiome Influence Human Health

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Supports Gut Barrier Integrity

What is the Gut Microbiome? How does it affect your health?

Gut microbes help maintain the integrity of the gut barrier by stimulating intestinal epithelial cell proliferation and regulating tight junction proteins, which bind intestinal cells together. They also boost the development of gut-associated lymphoid tissue , a type of tissue found exclusively in the gut that mediates immunity.

How Can We Protect Our Gut Health

Diet and water intake are two of the main ways we can protect and improve our gut health. Dietary fibre is important for making short-chain fatty acids that are responsible for cell signaling needed to regulate immune cells. Examples of dietary fibre are wholegrain pasta and rice, broccoli, beans, nuts and pulses. Making sure you get enough water is equally important. Water helps to promote a healthy gut by maintaining the mucosal layer of the intestine to reduce the likelihood of intestinal permeability.

Fermented foods are a great natural source of probiotics. A probiotic is a live organism that can help to restore and maintain gut flora. Examples of fermented foods are yogurt, tempeh, miso and kefir.

Food intolerances can also contribute to an unhealthy gut, so it is important to check for food intolerances and do an elimination diet to see if it improves your symptoms. If you suspect you have a food allergy you must make sure this is tested and seek the advice of a GP. Food allergies are different to intolerances as they invoke an immune response and usually require medical treatment.


Overview Of The Microbiota

The human GI tract has a massive total surface of 250-400m2 . This enhances the processes of digestion and absorption, and functions as a surface substrate for microbial attachment and colonisation. Larger numbers of microbes are also found suspended and replicating within the nutrient-dense medium of the gastrointestinal secretions and partially digested food. An estimated 100 trillion micro-organisms, including bacteria, viruses, fungi and protozoa, colonise the GI tract, with microbes outnumbering human cells between three and 10 to one .

The combined microbial genome is thought to comprise over 3 million genes, which dwarfs the 23,000 genes present in the human genome. This huge microbial genome is collectively known as the gut microbiome and codes for a multitude of microbial metabolites, which are released into the gut and subsequently absorbed and distributed throughout the body. The combined gut microbiota is often referred to as a super-organism, which, as it releases biologically active molecules, can be thought of as a virtual endocrine organ that exerts powerful and diverse effects on human physiology . With an estimated collective weight of 2kg, the gut microbiota has a larger mass than the liver, which is the largest internal organ.

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Preterm Birth And Neurodevelopmental Trajectories

Despite technology-enabled increases in the survival of extremely preterm infants in the United States, cognitive outcomes in these individuals are often severely impaired . Preterm babies born into low-SES families and/or minoritized populations often have poorer cognitive outcomes . While a number of factors, including access to early life education , likely contribute to these patterns, variation in inflammatory markers in infant serum is a key area of interest .

What Is A Normal Or Health

Role of the gut microbiota in nutrition and health

Health associated with human gut microbiota may vary. There are several factors in shaping the normal human gut microbiota. It imparts specific functions in host nutrient metabolism, drug metabolism, and xenobiotic. Therefore, the normal gut microbiota can’t is generalized. All you can do is start eating a healthy diet that promotes healthy gut health.

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Diet Influences Microbiome And Microbiome Influences Disease Risk

The study found that the health of the microbiome is influenced by diet, and that the composition of the microbiome influences the risk of health outcomes. The results showed that specific gut microbes were associated with specific nutrients, foods, food groups, and overall diet composition. Health conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and general inflammation appeared to be most impacted by diet-influenced changes to the microbiome.

For example, less healthy dietary patterns supported gut species that were associated with measures of blood sugar, cholesterol, and inflammation that are significantly associated with higher risk of cardiac events, strokes, and type 2 diabetes.

In contrast, a more diverse gut microbiome was tied to healthy dietary patterns and was linked to measurements tied to lower risk of certain chronic diseases. In addition, the study found that polyunsaturated fats produce healthy gut species linked to a reduced risk of chronic disease.

Microbiota Community Structure And Its Implications In Human Diseases

Microbes have been shown to interact extensively with each other within the human bodies . For example, the Human Microbiome Project cohort study reported competition between Porphyromonaceae and Streptococcus species in dental plaques, and between Prevotellaceae and Bacteroides in the guts; but possible complementation between Treponema and Prevotella in dental plaques . In addition, co-existence of Candida fungi and H. pylori in the gastric mucosa was critical to the development of non-ulcer dyspepsia, gastric ulcer and duodenal ulcer .

Interactions can also be beneficial to the host. Through the production of polysaccharide A , Bacteroides fragilis protected its host from the induction of colitis via Helicobacter hepaticus infection . Indeed, PSA has recently been shown to activate intestinal sensory neurons and thereby modulated peristalsis . Administration of E. coli O21:H+ also protected mice from muscle wasting which was induced by infections .

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Eat Enough Dietary Fiber

Whole, nutrient-dense foods promote a healthy gut microbiome. These foods are rich in dietary fiber, which supports the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. Resistant starch, a type of dietary fiber that passes through the small intestine undigested and ultimately feeds beneficial microbes in the large intestine, is particularly good for you. Its consumption is linked to improvements in metabolic and digestive system health. You can learn more about resistant starch in my article How Resistant Starch Will Help to Make You Healthier and Thinner.

Why Plant Fibers Are Critical For Brain And Immune Health

The Human Microbiome: A New Frontier in Health

Gut microbes get most of their nutrients from our diet and help us digest much of the food we ingest. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that diet has a huge impact on the composition of gut microbiota and, consequently, on our immune system. Diet influences many aspects of the microbiota-immune system crosstalk, including, for example, the permeability of the intestinal barrier, the types of microbes targeted by IgA, or whether TH17 cells become beneficial or harmful.;

Modern diets, particularly those of the Western world, are characterized by an excessive intake of highly palatable energy-dense foods, including high levels of animal protein, saturated fats, simple sugars, and salt, but low amounts of plant-derived fibers. And this is exactly the dietary pattern that is being increasingly linked to immune dysfunctions associated with the gut microbiota. For example, high dietary intake of salt or of long-chain and saturated fatty acids may stimulate the harmful actions of TH17 cells, which, in turn, may increase the risk of autoimmune reactions.;

SCFA, like acetate and butyrate, are made when gut microbes ferment insoluble fiber and carbohydrates . Eating a diet rich in plant foods that can be converted into SCFA helps keep the brain and immune system healthy.

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Interactions Of Gut Microbiome And Commonly Used Drugs

Once drugs enter the human gastrointestinal tract, they encounter trillions of microorganisms, which are able to encode 150-fold more genes than human genome . A number of enzymes encoded by gut microbial genes catalyze the biotransformation of drugs, producing bioactive metabolites, which have effects on human health . Advances in liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry technology allow the identification of the metabolites produced by gut microbiome, as well as detailed study of pharmacokinetics of drugs and their metabolites, while genome sequencing substantially assists the identification of genes encoding enzymes in gut microorganisms. Zimmermann and co-workers investigated the drug metabolism of an antiviral nucleoside drug, brivudine , which is used for the treatment of herpes zoster virus; the study was performed using mice inoculated with mutant microbiota . It was found that the bioconversion of brivudine ( 16

) would lead to the decrease of the active form, hydroxy acid-lovastatin , thus decreasing its therapeutic effects . This study clearly demonstrates the drugdrug interaction mediated by changes of gut microbiome.

Manipulating The Gut Microbiota Through Diet

Changes to the gut microbiota can occur within days of changing diet; remarkable differences were found after African Americans and rural Africans switched diets for only two weeks.66 Increased abundance of known butyrate producing bacteria in the African Americans consuming a rural African diet caused butyrate production to increase 2.5 times and reduced synthesis of secondary bile acid.66 Another study comparing extreme shifts between plant and animal protein based diets showed these changes after only five days.67 But healthy microbiota are resilient to temporal changes by dietary interventions, meaning that homeostatic reactions restore the original community composition, as recently shown in the case of bread 68

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The Impact Of The Gut Microbiota On Health

Microbes produce a vast number of metabolic products and other compounds that can directly interact with our physiological pathways. The immune system monitors the metabolic state of the gut microbiota and relays that information to other tissues in the body to adjust their physiological processes.

The set of compounds produced by the gut microbiota depends on the composition of the gut flora. Therefore, microbial imbalances in the gut can affect the production of the molecular signals that underlie the crosstalk between the gut microbiota and our physiological pathways and have a significant impact on those processes. Metabolic changes in the microbiota can even lead to the production of toxic products.

Many people are affected by health challenges related to poor immunity and inflammation. Diet can play a large role in worsening or improving these issues, because of interactions between the gut microbiota and immune system.

Dysbiosis can be caused by multiple environmental factors, such as the use of antibiotics and psychological and physical stress, for example. However, diet stands out as one of the most impactful factors.;



Role And Mechanism Of Gut Microbiota In Human Disease

Impact of Gut Microbiota on Host Physiology
  • 1School of Medicine, Hangzhou Normal University, Hangzhou, China
  • 2Institute of Aging Research, School of Medicine, Hangzhou Normal University, Hangzhou, China
  • 3School of Medicine, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China
  • 4Department of Evolutionary Studies of Biosystems, School of Advanced Sciences, Graduate University for Advanced Studies , Hayama, Japan

The human gut microbiome is a huge microbial community that plays an irreplaceable role in human life. With the further development of research, the influence of intestinal flora on human diseases has been gradually excavated. Gut microbiota dysbiosis has adverse health effects on the human body that will lead to a variety of chronic diseases. The underlying mechanisms of GM on human diseases are incredibly complicated. This review focuses on the regulation and mechanism of GM on neurodegenerative diseases, cardiovascular diseases, metabolic diseases and gastrointestinal diseases, thus providing a potential target for the prevention and treatment of disease.

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Faecal Transplants: A Residual Risk Remains

There is still no consensus among scientists as to what an ideal donor or a healthy microbiome is. This is because the microbiome varies greatly from person to person and also changes dynamically within an individual. “The transmission of known and unknown pathogens is just as conceivable as the activation of unwanted signalling pathways in a patients body, which over the long term could lead to autoimmune diseases or tumour formation,” comments André Gessner, microbiologist at the Institute of Microbiology and Hygiene at the University of Regensburg16.

Prebiotic Interactions With The Microbiome

Dietary prebiotics have been defined as a selectively fermented ingredient that results in specific changes in the composition and/or activity of the gastrointestinal microbiota, thus conferring benefit upon host health . This definition has been subjected to debate as it focuses largely around the need for selective metabolism. An alternative definition which includes the mechanism of action has been established recently in a consensus statement . The expert panel revised the definition of a prebiotic as a substrate that is selectively utilized by host microorganisms conferring a health benefit. This updated definition still requires a selective microbiota-mediated mechanism to be defined as a prebiotic.

Fermentation of dietary prebiotics in the gut involves metabolic cross-feeding where the products of fermentation by one or more bacterial species provide the substrate for other bacterial species . This complex cooperative activity of the gut microbiota is essential for good health . Bacterial fermentation of amino acids and proteins, which occurs mainly in the distal colon, generates a range of metabolites, many of which have a toxic potential. These include hydrogen sulphide, branched-chain fatty acids , phenol, indole, p-cresol, indoxylsulfate, p-cresylsulfate, and ammonia . Even if also present in the healthy colon, it must be noted, however, that we currently have a very poor understanding of the concentrations of microbial metabolites in the human colon .

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Characterizing The Human Gut Microbiota: Who Is In There

Determining what constitutes a healthy microbiota and the variability found across populations is a prerequisite for assessing deviations that are associated with disease states. Microbes colonize all of the surfaces of the human body that are exposed to the environment, with the majority residing in the intestinal tract, which is the focus of this Review. Distinct microbial communities are also found in the mouth , in the vagina , and on the skin . Bacterial communities in a given body site resemble themselves more than those in different body sites, i.e., the oral bacterial communities across individuals are more similar than those of the skin and mouth of an individual . At each body site there is also considerable interindividual variability .

Type 1 And 2 Diabetes

A Gut Feeling: How Microbes Impact Human Health

Gut dysbiosis is highly associated with insulin dysfunction in type 1 diabetes. Children with type 1 diabetes have lower levels of Lactobacilli and Bifidobacterium and reduced microbial diversity compared to healthy children. Gut microbes may promote type 1 diabetes by inducing a pro-inflammatory immune response that damages insulin-producing pancreatic beta cells.

The gut microbiome also plays a crucial role in type 2 diabetes. Several studies have shown that opportunistic pathogens are increased while microbes that produce butyrate are decreased in type 2 diabetes. The resulting gut dysbiosis allows the leakage of harmful bacterial metabolites into the circulation, inducing chronic inflammation, an important underlying cause of type 2 diabetes.

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Gut Microbiome And Health

Maintaining your gut health is very important to always remain in good shape. It’s essential to learn more about the microbiome and health to avoid experiencing health issues. The human body contains trillions of bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Together, they are called microbiomes.

There are different types of bacteria in your body. Some of them can cause diseases but not all bacterias are harmful. Others are even essential for your immune system. They can also help for maintaining good overall health. That’s why microbiome and health are always associated.

The Intestinal Microbiome: A Clinical Perspective

The human gut microbiota consists of trillions of microbes which form a complex ecosystem . Although, some researchers have suggested that the number of microbes in the human gut is tenfold the total number of human somatic cells, a recent estimate has calculated that the numbers are of the same order, with the total number of bacteria in the human body being around 3.8;×;1013 . An aberrant gut microbiota has been described in several disorders including IBS, with exogenous factors such as antibiotics also causing disturbance of the intestinal microbiota .

The systemic effect of microbiota is mediated by microbial metabolites such as short-chain fatty acids , and the gases hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, hydrogen, methane, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide . SCFAs, which comprise mainly acetate, propionate and butyrate, are produced under anaerobic conditions in the large intestine by fermentation of dietary fibers . SCFAs activate the G protein-coupled receptors, GPR41/FFAR3 and GPR43/FFAR2, which are present on multiple cell types including intestinal epithelial cells, macrophages, dendritic cells and mast cells . Consequently, SCFAs have multiple effects on the host, including acting as an energy source, promoting glucose and energy homeostasis, regulating immune responses and inflammation, regulating anorectic hormones which have a role in appetite control, tumor suppression , and regulating central and peripheral nervous systems .

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What Does A Healthy Gut Microbiome Look Like

The gut microbiome contains several broad classes of organisms, including bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites. Usually, most of these microbes are found in the large intestine, with relatively few microbes found in the stomach and small intestine. While we cant say with certainty what a normal gut microbiome looks like, we are aware of specific microbial species and patterns of colonization that are beneficial. For starters, we know that there are four major phyla of bacteria that compose the gut microbiome:

  • Bacteroidetes
  • Actinobacteria
  • Proteobacteria

Together, Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes make up 90 percent of total bacterial species in the gut.

We also understand from research that a higher diversity of gut microbes is associated with better health. Genetics, ethnicity, and close social relationships also appear to influence the composition of the gut microbiota.

Minimize Use & Maximize Distance

A schematic illustration the cross talk between human ...

Modern gadgets, especially those that can connect to other devices or the internet via Bluetooth, cellular, and WiFi, emit a massive amount of EMF. And the reality is, at any given time, were surrounded by any number of these devices exposing us to their EMF emissions.

This is why we recommend minimizing your tech use and maximizing your distance from EMF-emitting gadgets.

And the best part is, there are many ways you can employ these two rules in your life without giving up tech use. For instance, you can turn off your WiFi router at night and mitigate a considerable amount of unnecessary EMF exposure. And for maximizing distance, you can simply stop carrying your phone in your pocket or your bra.

Visit my Healthy Living Tips page to learn more about how you can minimize your tech use and maximize your distance without negatively impacting your enjoyment of modern technology.

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