So What Exactly Do Bacteria Do In My Body
Well actually, what dont they do? Theres almost no function in the human body that our bacterial symbionts and their metabolites arent connected to.
Lets start with what youve probably already heard ofyour gut. Trillions of beneficial bacteria reside along your epithelial wall and maintain your gut barrier integrity, making it difficult for inhospitable bacteria to penetrate. They help maintain an acidic environment to dissuade certain alkaline-loving pathogenic bacteria from taking root. They support the secretion of intestinal mucus and collaborate closely with your guts gatekeepers to modulate what should or shouldnt pass through to the body. And certain bacteria even produce neurotransmitters that stimulate muscle contractionsyes, were talking about easier poops.
When we eat, certain microbial genes code for enzymes that break down food we otherwise couldntthink complex carbohydrates, like fiber. Through this, bacteria also produce byproduct short-chain fatty acids, like butyrate, which fuel the cells lining your colon and strengthen your protective intestinal mucosa. Butyrate, specifically, has powerful anti-inflammatory effects beyond the gut, reducing oxidative stress and managing the production of regulatory T-cells .
The Human Microbiome And Your Immune System
Your stomach, large intestine, and small intestine, together with your digestive system, is home to some 100 trillion bacteria. In addition to their role in digestion, these microbes are responsible for regulating our hormones, eliminating toxins, and producing vital nutrients.; The beneficial bacteria in our gut also represent some 80% of our immune cells, which protect us against colds, pathogens, viruses, and other bugs.;
If you want to stay healthy, taking care of your gut health to power up your natural defenses is paramount. A compromised immune system places you at increased risk for autoimmune diseases, colds, cases of flu, allergies, and a myriad of other conditions.
The Hunt For A Healthy Microbiome
What does a healthy forest look like? A seemingly thriving, verdant wilderness can conceal signs of pollution, disease or invasive species. Only an ecologist can spot problems that could jeopardize the long-term well-being of the entire ecosystem.
Microbiome researchers grapple with the same problem. Disruptions to the community of microbes living in the human gut can contribute to the risk and severity of a host of medical conditions. Accordingly, many scientists have become accomplished bacterial naturalists, labouring to catalogue the startling diversity of these commensal communities. Some 5001,000 bacterial species reside in each persons intestinal tract, alongside an undetermined number of viruses, fungi and other microbes.
Rapid advances in DNA sequencing technology have accelerated the identification of these bacteria, allowing researchers to create field guides to the species in the human gut. Were starting to get a feeling of who the players are, says Jeroen Raes, a bioinformatician at VIB, a life-sciences institute in Ghent, Belgium. But there is still considerable dark matter.
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Not All Fiber Is Created Equal
Fiber is understood to be beneficial, explains senior study author Dr. Jeffrey Gordon, a professor and director of the Edison Family Center for Genome Sciences & Systems Biology, at Washington University School of Medicine.
But fiber is actually a very complicated mixture of many different components. Moreover, fibers from different plant sources that are processed in different ways during food manufacturing have different constituents, he continues. Unfortunately, we lack detailed knowledge of these differences and their biological significance.
To test how different fiber sources affect the abundance of gut bacteria, Dr. Gordon and his colleagues turned to mice.
The animals in their study were bred under sterile conditions, which means that they did not have their own gut microbiomes. Instead, they each received a cocktail of 20 strains of the common gut bacterium Bacteroides, which the team had isolated from a human gut.
Each mouse subsequently ate a specific diet for 4 weeks, made up of a base diet with added fiber.
The base diet contained high quantities of saturated fats and low quantities of fruits and vegetables. The team used this as a model of a Western diet, which is typically high in fats and low in fiber. To each base diet, they added different fiber types.
They then analyzed how the 20 different bacterial strains reacted to the presence of the various fiber sources.
How Microbiota Benefit The Body
Microbiota stimulate the immune system, break down potentially toxic food compounds, and synthesize certain vitamins and amino acids, including the B vitamins and vitamin K. For example, the key enzymes needed to form vitamin B12 are only found in bacteria, not in plants and animals.
Sugars like table sugar and lactose are quickly absorbed in the upper part of the small intestine, but more complex carbohydrates like starches and fibers are not as easily digested and may travel lower to the large intestine. There, the microbiota help to break down these compounds with their digestive enzymes. The fermentation of indigestible fibers causes the production of short chain fatty acids that can be used by the body as a nutrient source but also play an important role in muscle function and possibly the prevention of chronic diseases, including certain cancers and bowel disorders. Clinical studies have shown that SCFA may be useful in the treatment of ulcerative colitis, Crohns disease, and antibiotic-associated diarrhea.
The microbiota of a healthy person will also provide protection from pathogenic organisms that enter the body such as through drinking or eating contaminated water or food.
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What Is The Best Microbiome Test
The best microbiome test should be accurate and effective: that means it should reveal a true picture of the types and levels of microbes in your gut. Once youve sifted all the good microbiome tests out of all the options on the market, how do you decide between them?
For a deep dive into your gut health you need more than a microbiome test. Choose a comprehensive gut health test.
The Best Microbiome Supplements On The Market
We apologize for the lengthy lead-in to this Best of article; however, developing an understanding and appreciation of the microbiome and its many roles adds validity to the importance of digestive health and the case for microbiome supplements. In this article, we will explain what supplements are considered microbiome support products; well identify the best ingredients for use in a digestive health product, list the benefits of supplementation, and provide our top four picks for Best Microbiome Supplements.;
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Healthy Gut Healthy Life How The Microbiome Diet Can Impact More Than Your Weight
Its no secret the foods we eat affect our weight. There are many different diets claiming certain foods will help lose weight, but thanks to research conducted in the last few years, scientists are learning the food you eat can impact not just your weight, but your overall health and well-being.;;
How? Your diet affects the colony of microbes found in your gut, which has the potential to influence your sleep, weight, food allergies, your likelihood for developing certain diseases and more. This colony is called your microbiome. But, just what exactly is a microbiome and how can you ensure yours is healthy and balanced?;
What Does The Gut Microbiome Do
Your gut microbiome has several important jobs. Different types of bacteria are needed to complete specific functions. Here are five important jobs your gut microbiome performs daily:
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Fermented Foods And Probiotics
That said, while US consumers generally understand that probiotics are live micro-organisms, and that there are so-called friendly or good bacteria as well as the bugs theyre trying to kill with cleaning products, they dont necessarily understand that not all fermented foods contain probiotics , says Dr Freitas.
As the benefits of probiotics are strain-specific, when you see generic references to probiotics on the front of a product label, but you turn over the pack and the strains are not listed, it raises a red flag, he says, noting that many fermented foods may contain probiotics, but the;organisms in many of these products have typically not been studied.
If youve got the strain listed then consumers can do their research and see if that strain is backed up by clinical studies.
Seed101what Is The Gut Barrier And How Does It Work
The human intestinal lining is formed by a single layer of epithelial cells and a thick layer of mucus. This is what we call your gut barrier. It has two jobs: absorbing beneficial nutrients and providing protection against harmful substances. The space between each of your epithelial cells is sealed by tight junctions. Their job is to regulate the permeability of your gut barrier and act as the gatekeeper between the gut and the bloodstream.
With over 100 times the surface area of your skin , the gut is the largest exposed external surface on your body. On a daily basis, it deals with the food you eat, the molecules you breathe, and at times, the potential toxins that look to get in. If your intestinal lining is damaged or compromised , substances that dont belong in your body can enter the bloodstream, triggering autoimmune responses in the bodythink inflammation, allergies, irritable bowels, migraines, pain, fatigue, and more.
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Technical Challenges In Studying Gut Microbiome And Host Interactions
Measuring the human microbiome requires proper sample acquisition, handling, storage, and analysis. Procedures and analytical methods need to be reproducible and consistently applied across studies and populations to obtain accurate diet and dietary intake assessments and to minimize technical variation in metagenomic data . For the most part, samples are obtained from defecated stools . Before genetic sequencing, each physical, chemical, and biological step involved in the molecular analysis of a microbial sample can be a source of bias, which could lead to a distorted perspective of the real microbiome . When extracting microbial nucleotides , microbial proteins, or microbial metabolites, each step can induce species-specific bias . DNA extraction is a common source of variation among laboratories , partially because Gram-positive bacteria cell walls are more difficult to lyse.
What To Expect From The Test Results
Once the sample has been sequenced, you will be able to log into uBiomes site to review your results.
uBiome will provide your results via an interactive site that provides listings of the most abundant phylum, class, order genus, species of microbes found in your sample in any significat percentages and includes the percentages of each that was found. You can click on the name of any of these allows you to drill down further to find out more about each one. You can compare your results to uBiomes entire data set, or instead to particular groups of people classified according to sex or lifestyle . .
For many of the microbes that are found in your sample, you can click on the name to find out more about them. ;However, there are other;microbes that can be identified by;the test for which medical science does not yet understand the effect, if any, on;the body, so knowing that you have a certain microbe will not necessarily provide any insight into what that might mean for your health.
The results also provide information as to how effective your sample is, compared those of other groups, at carbohydrate, fat, amino acid and vitamin metabolism. Information on the abilities your bacteria have, is also provided. These results are likely more useful to those in the microbiology or medical fields than to lay users.
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Thryve Gut Health Program
Another very solid choice in our top three microbiome tests is the Thryve Gut Health Program. Right now, Thryves test isnt the most comprehensive test available ; this test focuses on gut bacteria, a narrower scope than BIOHM and significantly narrower than Viomes test. Thryve intends to offer more comprehensive gut microbiome testing in the future.
This Factsheet Is About The Commercial Analysis Of Poo Samples Or Microbiome Testing
Research into the gut and the microbes living in your gut has now become big news. Scientists all over the world are analysing what kinds of microbes make the human gut their home and investigating how they affect our health both in the long term and short term. Scientists are also interested in how these microbes might influence a persons response to drugs prescribed by doctors, for example, drugs for the heart or to treat different cancers as well as antibiotics.
Some of the findings have moved from scientific publications to articles/books for the general public. As a result of this attention, several companies now offer to analyse a sample of your faeces , with the aim of telling you about the microbes in your gut, and how they might affect your health, either positively or negatively.
But what is really known about this approach? How useful are these tests? What can we learn from the test results? This leaflet will explain about the gut microbes, their links to health, disease and therapy, and what the test reports mean.
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Collecting Multiple Days Of Dietary History Prior To Each Microbiome Sample
For observational studies where dietary intake is considered as a confounder for the microbiome outcome of interest, the decision to collect dietary data is driven by different factors than when dietary intake is the exposure of interest. We do not think that all microbiome studies need to collect dietary data. In many well-designed microbiome studies it may not be necessary to collect dietary data and the decision to collect dietary data should be weighed carefully with the researchers’ hypotheses and planned analyses. In observational studies where diet will be a clear confounder that cannot be controlled for through other study design parameters, investigators should collect detailed information about diet.
Studying The Gut Microbiota
Twin studies have shown that, although there is a heritable component to gut microbiota, environmental factors related to diet, drugs, and anthropometric measures are larger determinants of microbiota composition.45
Gut microbes are key to many aspects of human health including immune,6 metabolic5 and neurobehavioural traits .78 Different levels of evidence support the role of gut microbiota in human health, from animal models910 and human studies.4111213
Schematic representation of the role of the gut microbiota in health and disease giving some examples of inputs and outputs. CVD=cardiovascular disease; IPA=indolepropionic acid; LPS=lipopolysaccharide; SCFA=short chain fatty acids; TMAO=trimethylamine N-oxide
Animal models can help identify gut microbes and mechanisms, though the degree to which findings translate to humans is unknown. In humans, observational studies can show cross-sectional associations between microbes and health traits but are limited by the inability to measure causal relations. The strongest level of evidence is obtained from interventional clinical studiesin particular, randomised controlled trials.
The composition of gut microbiota is commonly quantified using DNA based methods, such as next generation sequencing of 16S ribosomal RNA genes or whole genome shotgun sequencing, which also allow inference of microbiota functions.1415 Metabolic products of the microbiota are now measurable in stool and serum using metabolomic methods.16
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Make Sure To Eat Your Vegetables
Especially the leafy green ones! Vegetables are loaded with fibres, which cannot be digested by people but are consumed by the good bacteria in your gut. It has been observed that people who follow a diet rich with fruits and vegetables are less likely to grow disease-causing bacteria. Some great examples of vegetables that feed your microbes are:
Ibs: When Even Fruits And Veggies Cause Gut Distress
While research is growing into the role of healthy foods in preventing illness, scientists are also hard at work treating gut disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome not to be confused with inflammatory bowel disease conditions that cause inflammation and tissue damage.
For IBS sufferers, symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, diarrhoea and excessive gas can be an unwelcome part of everyday life. IBS is described as a functional gastrointestinal disorder, which means that there are no obvious signs of abnormalities in the patients gut. According to the Gastroenterological Society of Australia, IBS is a very common disorder;;affecting;around one in five Australians.;
Researchers have several theories about why IBS occurs, including low-grade inflammation and imbalances in the gut microbiome. Finding an effective treatment can be challenging, although several medications and psychological therapies have been shown to reduce symptoms. However, the clear link between diet and IBS symptoms has led researchers to develop a dietary treatment.
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