Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

Gut bacteria are usually as diverse and mysterious as the galaxy itself. Some of these bacteria are actually good for you whereas some can be harmful. There exists about 100 trillion bacteria, some of which are good and some are harmful. These bacteria live inside the digestive tract and collectively they are referred to as gut microbiota.

Scientists have begun taking immense interest in these microbes. They have come to the conclusion that these gut bacteria definitely influences our health whereas some even improve our health. The range of their benefits lies from cancer to arthritis. But, it is a great challenge to understand how these bacteria function and help us.

These gut bacteria are thought to have a very good influence in our gastrointestinal health, but some research suggests that their benefits may be even more widespread into the other systems of the body.

How The Gut Bacteria Works?

Of the trillion bacteria that are present in the digestive tract, they are from around 1000 different species and are represented in around 5000 distinct and individual bacterial strains. The gut bacteria we have are unique to the individual. There are however, some combinations of bacteria that are found in the gut of those who are healthy individuals.

The main factors that are influential in determining the patterns of bacteria found are age, diet, genes, environment and the medications. In medications, antibiotics are most important as they facilitate the depletion of gut bacteria. Among the various roles the gut bacteria plays, the most important ones include, metabolizing nutrients from certain medications, they serves as a protective shield against intestinal infections and also produce vitamin K, which are useful in making, blood clotting proteins.

The gut bacteria may even perform some other roles and vital functions, but it is impossible for scientists to discover these yet. According to the recent evidences gathered through animal studies, but can be summarized that gut bacteria may be involved in the treatment and prevention against certain diseases.

How The Gut Bacteria Works?

4 Unique Ways in which Gut Bacteria Can Help You

  1. Rheumatoid Arthritis

    From studies conducted by the Mayo Clinic, it can be summarized that gut bacteria are in fact important in predicting whether a person is susceptible to rheumatoid arthritis. The gut bacteria may even provide a basis for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. In a study published by the Genome Medicine it has been also said that will further analysis it might be possible to confirm these findings. Researchers were actually able to separate a strain of bacteria that was high in number in those who were diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. These strains were even found to be lower in the individuals of the control group who did not have rheumatoid arthritis. In another study published by Arthritis and Rheumatology, it was seen that the mice that were treated with a bacterium called the Prevotella histicola had less and even less frequent symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and even few numbers of inflammatory conditions that are a prerequisite of rheumatoid arthritis.

  2. Cancer

    In a study published online by PLOS ONE offered significant evidence that a strain of bacteria called Lactobacillus johnsonii may provide protection against cancer. This is obviously a revolutionary finding, as there are very few ways in which cancer can be prevented or treated. Scientists involved in the study gave mice a mutation that was associated with a high degree of occurrence of leukemia, lymphomas and other kind of cancer. When the mice were treated with this strain of bacteria they developed lymphomas at a slower rate, almost decreased by half the time that was taken by the control group, who was not treated with the bacteria.

  3. Heart Diseases

    In a research, whose findings were provided by the Journal of Applied Microbiology found that a bacterial strain of Akkermansia muciniphila could provide with protection against inflammation that were related to fatty plaque buildup in the arteries of the heart and related structures. Scientists are of the opinion that this happens due to the release of a protein that blocks any communication between the cells that are present in the inner linings of the gut. Because if this, fewer toxins that are passed down into the bloodstream due to the intake of unhealthy food that are incorporated in the diet. This, in turn, reduced the inflammations. In this manner, gut bacteria provide protection against heart diseases.

  4. Immune System

    In a study that was published by the science department of the University of Chicago, proved that scientists have found that with the introduction of a particular strain of bacteria into the digestive tract of mice having melanoma caused their immune system to attack the melanoma causing tumor cells. This benefit of the gut bacteria was comparable to the treatment with anti-cancer drugs which are called checkpoint inhibitors.

    This proves that, though you should not invest in the culture of healthy gut bacteria, gut bacteria are still beneficial to health. Any such products that are good enough to feed the good bacteria and cause them to multiply and sustain are good for your overall health. This is the general belief as propagated by scientists. When the gut is in a stable position, it helps you to have a good and healthy life on return. For this purpose, you should never overuse antibiotics, as the antibiotics cause a loss in the number of good bacteria.

    In general, with age, people are more susceptible to infections and likely have more health related problems. This is the reason they are treated with more antibiotics, but it is important that the use of the antibiotics are done judiciously. In order to increase the number of gut bacteria, a good method is to eat more fermented foods. Gut bacteria are living organisms that also require food. A good diet that is healthy and well balanced is what facilitates the culture and growth of good bacteria.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: September 20, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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