Is It Ever A Good Idea To Try To Kill Bad Bacteria In The Gut
Here are two instances in which you should seek advice from a professional on how to gently and systematically weed unwanted microbes from your gut:
After a stool test has identified a potentially problematic overgrowth
A comprehensive stool test reveals the levels of key bacterial species in your lower intestine , as well as the presence of candida and other yeasts. Our most advanced test also checks for parasites and levels of inflammation in the lower gut, along with many other intestinal health biomarkers. For this test, you provide a small sample of your stool that you send to a lab for analysis.
Because a stool test can tell us which specific bacteria and yeasts are present at higher levels than normal, its possible to use specific antimicrobial herbs that have some evidence behind their ability to eradicate particular types of bacteria and yeasts . The science isnt perfect on this yet, but it does give practitioners a better chance of getting rid of problematic overgrowths without causing too much collateral damage.
After a breath test has confirmed SIBO
SIBO stands for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, which, like it sounds, is the presence of too many bacteria in your small intestine, which should harbour very low levels of bacteria compared to the large intestine . If you have the symptoms of SIBO, a health practitioner may recommend a SIBO test. Symptoms include:
They Can Help To Improve Mental Health
There are studies that link gut health to having positive effects on the bodys mood and overall health. These studies have also found that the use of probiotics can help to improve the mental health of those who take them.
Those who took probiotics regularly had improvement in mental health disorders such as anxiety, autism, depression, memory, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. So when you have the bacteria balanced in your gut it will help your body overall.
What Are Phages Up To
Although we know that phages are abundant in the gut, we do not know much about their behavior.
Some people are exploring phage therapy, using phages to kill off microbes, Dr. Gerber says, but phages are also found naturally in the gut, co-existing with the rest of the ecosystem. We wanted to find out what they are doing in there.
To investigate, the researchers used gnotobiotic mice they reared these animals in such a way that they have no bacteria living on or in them.
To begin, they introduced to the mice 10 species of bacteria that commonly reside in the human gut, including Enterococcus faecalis and Escherichia coli.
Then, they added phages that specifically target the bacteria they transplanted into the mice. For instance, the T4 phage targets E. coli, and the VD13 phage attacks E. faecalis. They then tracked the success of each microbe.
Phages are specific hunters: each type kills just one type of bacteria. So when the scientists introduced a phage to the mice, they would see a decline in that type of bacteria. However, the impact on other bacteria was more surprising.
You May Like: How Much Cod Liver Oil Per Day
Coffee Helps Absorb More Antioxidants
According to many studies, coffee contains theobromine, an alkaloid that increases the absorption of polyphenols.
These antioxidants, along with curcumin and glutathione, are low in the human body biologically. Coffee does act as a source of polyphenols which is beneficial for our bodies to boost the absorption process.
On the flip side, coffee does have some side effects on your gut microbe.
- Coffee plus a poor diet can cause acid reflux and GERD.
- Coffee cause stomach acid and a high amount of stomach acid can cause the increased stimulation in the colon, which further causes diarrhea and dehydration.
Coffee affects gut health in different ways. It can be an excellent go-to drink every day for people with a healthy gut.
Good Bacteria And Gut Health
But weve been told for decades that all bacteria are evil, so if youre wondering, Is flora good for you? right now, then youre not alone. Dont worry, this widespread belief is a myth. In fact, now we know that bacteria are overwhelmingly harmless, some are great, and only a few are bad.
For your gut to stay happy and keep you healthy, it depends on microbial diversity. Basically, there must be lots of different types of microbes living together. When there isnt, it leads to dysbiosis, in which there isnt enough diversity and some bacteria can grow out of control.
When an imbalance of good and bad bacteria happens, the microbiome can become unhappy, and this has consequences for digestion, inflammation, the gut lining, and even mood and brain health.
Say hello to your little friends! Discover the diversity and composition of your gut bugs with the Atlas Microbiome Test.
You May Like: Best Doctor For Gallbladder Surgery
Probiotics Can Help To Keep Your Heart Healthy
Eating food high in probiotics or even taking a supplement regularly can help your heart. When taken regularly probiotics can help lower bad cholesterol and even blood pressure.
Even foods that have lactic acid, such as yogurt, can be used to help cholesterol by breaking down bile better in the gut area. Since bile is a fluid made mostly of cholesterol that is used to break down food it should stay in the gut.
Probiotics help to break down bile instead of having the gut reabsorb it. When the gut absorbs bile it then enters the bloodstream and leads to high cholesterol.
They Can Help Boost Your Immune System
When you take care of your gut you can boost the effectiveness of your immune system. Since probiotics can help to inhibit the growth of bad bacteria and boost the good bacteria in your system you can easily fight off a cold.
Some probiotics can even help to develop antibodies within your system. They may even boost immune cells such as T lymphocytes, natural killer cells, and IgA-producing cells.
Recommended Reading: Why Has My Stomach Been Hurting For 2 Days
Consume More Fermented Foods In Your Diet To Enhance Postbiotics
Postbiotics are the metabolites, or the waste products, of microorganisms. Unlike human poo, they can help restore the healthy gut microbiome since they still produce biologic activity. They are potent enough to be potential complementary therapies for pre-term babies with a disease, according to a 2013 study.
To stimulate the production of postbiotics, you can consume fermented foods such as kimchi, kombucha tea, and sauerkraut. As the microorganisms further ferment these, they can create the metabolites. Many of these fermented foods are rich in lactobacilli. Lactobacilli is a type of bacteria the has benefits to your overall health. For instance, people who eat a lot of yogurt in their diet seem to have much more lactobacilli in their intestines. These people also tend to have less Enterobacteriaceae too. Enterobacteriaceae is a type of bacteria that is linked to some chronic diseases and inflammation. Taking probiotics supplements can help as well, especially if they contain multiple strains. Some of these can encourage bacteria to produce butyrate, which may be ideal for people with Crohns disease.
What is Crohn’s disease? It is an inflammatory bowel disease that affects the digestive tract, particularly the small intestine.
Engineered Bacteria Could Help Protect Good Gut Microbes From Antibiotics
Images for download on the MIT News office website are made available to non-commercial entities, press and the general public under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives license. You may not alter the images provided, other than to crop them to size. A credit line must be used when reproducing images if one is not provided below, credit the images to “MIT.”
Previous imageNext image
Antibiotics are life-saving drugs, but they can also harm the beneficial microbes that live in the human gut. Following antibiotic treatment, some patients are at risk of developing inflammation or opportunistic infections such as Clostridiodes difficile. Indiscriminate use of antibiotics on gut microbes can also contribute to the spread of resistance to the drugs.
In an effort to reduce those risks, MIT engineers have developed a new way to help protect the natural flora of the human digestive tract. They took a strain of bacteria that is safe for human consumption and engineered it to safely produce an enzyme that breaks down a class of antibiotics called beta-lactams. These include ampicillin, amoxicillin, and other commonly used drugs.
When this living biotherapeutic is given along with antibiotics, it protects the microbiota in the gut but allows the levels of antibiotics circulating in the bloodstream to remain high, the researchers found in a study of mice.
Protecting the gut
Maintaining microbial diversity
Recommended Reading: How To Detoxify Your Liver Naturally
Probiotics Prebiotics Synbiotics And Pharmabiotics
Probiotics are microorganisms that are believed to provide health benefits when consumed. With regard to gut microbiota, prebiotics are typically non-digestible, fiber compounds that pass undigested through the upper part of the gastrointestinal tract and stimulate the growth or activity of advantageous gut flora by acting as substrate for them.
The term “pharmabiotics” is used in various ways, to mean: pharmaceutical formulations of probiotics, prebiotics, or synbiotics probiotics that have been genetically engineered or otherwise optimized for best performance and the natural products of gut flora metabolism .
There is some evidence that treatment with some probiotic strains of bacteria may be effective in irritable bowel syndrome and chronic idiopathic constipation. Those organisms most likely to result in a decrease of symptoms have included:
Get Some Exercise But Not Too Much
The science on this has really sped up over the last decade. We now know that exercise has a direct effect on our gut bacteria, who in turn improve our tissue metabolism, cardiorespiratory fitness, and insulin resistance . However, our bodies perceive too much heavy exercise as a threat, which invokes the stress response, thus reducing our gut flora diversity .
Recommended Reading: Can You Take Excedrin On An Empty Stomach
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:
How Do Antibiotics Damage Your Gut Health
Antibiotics are prescribed to nearly half the UK population every year for common conditions and in hospitals to treat and prevent serious infections. Here are the most common applications for antibiotics:
|urinary tract, bladder and kidney infections||skin and wound infections|
Unfortunately, antibiotics dont stop at bad bacteria and they dont treat viral infections, which are often nearly impossible to distinguish from bacterial ones. Instead, antibiotics kill good bacteria too, and thats bad because good bacteria are often helping your body fight the infection.
Many people also experience mild-to-severe antibiotic side effects, especially if their immune health is already compromised, like hospital patients. More seriously, antibiotics can leave room for extremely harmful bacteria such as E.coli, C.diff and Salmonella infections that may be so severe that hospitalization is required.
Recommended Reading: Can You Heal Leaky Gut
Basic Definitions And Development Of The Microbiota
The term microbiota is to be preferred to the older term flora, as the latter fails to account for the many nonbacte-rial elements that are now known to be normal inhabitants of the gut. Given the relatively greater understanding that currently exists of the role of bacteria, in comparison with the other constituents of the microbiota in health and disease, gut bacteria will be the primary focus of this review. Within the human gastrointestinal microbiota exists a complex ecosystem of approximately 300 to 500 bacterial species, comprising nearly 2 million genes .1 Indeed, the number of bacteria within the gut is approximately 10 times that of all of the cells in the human body, and the collective bacterial genome is vastly greater than the human genome.
Foods And Toxins That Are Killing Your Gut Bacteria
Most of us dont realise just how vitally important our gut bacteria is for our health and wellbeing. Your gut is home to over one trillion bacteria, Our guts home to 100 trillion bacteria close to 2Kg or 4lb in weight are a vital part of our body and have been labelled by scientists as our forgotten organ.
As well as aiding digestion, the bacteria and flora that we host in our guts help to keep our immune system functioning, and fight off infection and disease. However there are many toxins and chemicals in foods and medicines that harm strains or the bacteria we depend on which can lead to all sorts of chronic disease.
Read Also: Stage 3 Pancreatic Cancer Prognosis
Are Artificial Sweeteners Less Harmful Than Sugar
Despite the concerns about artificial sweeteners, its worth noting that consuming too much added sugar is known to be harmful.
In fact, most government guidelines recommend limiting your added sugar intake due to the health risks associated with it.
Eating too much added sugar has been associated with an increased risk of cavities, obesity, type 2 diabetes, poorer mental health and risk markers for heart disease (
If you are concerned, your healthiest option is to reduce your consumption of both sugar and artificial sweeteners.
Summary: Swapping added sugar for artificial sweeteners may help people who are trying to lose weight and improve their dental health.
Avoid Sugar And Processed Foods To Control Growth Of Candida
One of the ways how to heal gut flora is to avoid sugar since yeast tends to feed on them. Yeast thrives on sugar, so reducing your sugar intake will directly reduce your risk of a yeast infection. Without cutting back on sugar, yeast can take over and cause some health problems.
Although, while you are reducing your intake of sugar, you should also not consume too many artificial sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners are popular replacements for sugar. However, there have been studies shown that artificial sweeteners can harm your gut microbiota.
Don’t Miss: Does Waist Training Flatten Your Stomach
The Gut Microbiota In Disease
Most recently, qualitative changes in the microbiota have been invoked in the pathogenesis of a global epidemic: obesity.41 It has been postulated that a shift in the composition of the flora toward a population dominated by bacteria that are more avid extractors of absorbable nutrientswhich are then available for assimilation by the hostcould play a major role in obesity.41 Such studies rely on the application of modern technologies to the study of the colonic flora and have the potential to expose the true diversity and metabolic profile of the microbiota and the real extent of changes in disease. Rather than provide an exhausting survey of all the disease states that might be influenced by the microbiota, a brief overview of current information on the role of the microbiota in a few common diseases/disorders will be provided below.
Consume Bone Broth To Help Repair The Gut
Its not uncommon to experience an upset stomach when taking common treatments. Its because the treatment may contain substances that can irritate the lining of your tummy and the intestines. Depending on how long youve been taking them, they can increase the risk of leaky gut or semi-permeability of your intestinal barrier. When this happens, toxins that should not be in your body can penetrate the bloodstream. Restore gut flora by strengthening and repairing your gut walls. You can consume bone broth, which is high in collagen. Collagen is a protein that helps form the structure of your connective tissues, such as those in your gut.
Also Check: Symptoms Of Liver Issues In Dogs
Alcohol And Gut Health: Can Drinking Throw You Off Balance
If you generally lead a healthy lifestyle, but suffer from unexplained digestive problems, youre not alone. The gut is a complex place, and even with all of our advancements in science, we are still learning about the best way to care for it. One thing is for sure, however: If youre drinking a lot of alcohol, its likely to affect your gut health.
But how much is too much? How does alcohol affect your gut? And arent there some types of alcohol that can actually help? Below, well discuss the relationship of alcohol and gut health, and how you can keep your gut flora happy and healthy.
Obesity And Metabolic Syndrome
The gut flora has also been implicated in obesity and metabolic syndrome due to the key role it plays in the digestive process the Western pattern diet appears to drive and maintain changes in the gut flora that in turn change how much energy is derived from food and how that energy is used. One aspect of a healthy diet that is often lacking in the Western-pattern diet is fiber and other complex carbohydrates that a healthy gut flora require flourishing changes to gut flora in response to a Western-pattern diet appear to increase the amount of energy generated by the gut flora which may contribute to obesity and metabolic syndrome. There is also evidence that microbiota influence eating behaviours based on the preferences of the microbiota, which can lead to the host consuming more food eventually resulting in obesity. It has generally been observed that with higher gut microbiome diversity, the microbiota will spend energy and resources on competing with other microbiota and less on manipulating the host. The opposite is seen with lower gut microbiome diversity, and these microbiotas may work together to create host food cravings.
Just as gut flora can function in a feedback loop that can drive the development of obesity, there is evidence that restricting intake of calories can drive changes to the composition of the gut flora.
Don’t Miss: Best Foods To Heal Your Gut