Researchers from Georgia State University have used improved technological approaches to further demonstrate the role that healthy gut flora plays in helping prevent metabolic disorder, something which an estimated 34 percent of American adults suffer from. Once healthy gut flora is disrupted, they say, the door that leads to inflammation and in turn, health problems such as metabolic disorder, is left wide open. Therefore, the experts note that it’s important to keep the bacteria that reside in the intestines functioning properly.(1)
“We’ve filled in a lot of the details about how it works,” said Dr. Andrew Gewirtz, a professor in the Institute for Biomedical Sciences at Georgia State who was involved in the study. “It’s the loss of TLR5 on the epithelium, the cells that line the surface of the intestine and their ability to quickly respond to bacteria. That ability goes away and results in a more aggressive bacterial population that gets closer in and produces substances that drive inflammation.” In addition to metabolic disorder, an upset in gut flora can also lead to chronic inflammatory diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.(2)
According to the American Heart Association, the disorder typically surfaces when a “cluster of metabolic risk factors” — high triglyceride levels, abdominal obesity, low levels of HDL cholesterol, high blood pressure and high fasting glucose readings — occur together. Those affected are more prone to stroke, heart disease and diabetes.(3)
How healthy gut flora changes for the worse
The researchers explain that, usually, bacteria maintain a certain distance from epithelial cells. But they found that, when gut microbiota is altered, bacteria behave more aggressively and get very close to the protective epithelium. It’s then that harmful substances can be produced, wreaking havoc on the body.(2)
The study, recently published in the journal Gastroenterology states:
Several chronic inflammatory diseases affecting the gastrointestinal tract, as well as a variety of other organ systems, are associated with alterations in gut microbiota composition, suggesting involvement of the microbiota in these disorders.(4)
Several factors can contribute to disruptions in healthy gut flora.
In addition to behaviors that can lead to obesity and high blood pressure such as an improper diet or chronic stress, it would appear that society’s attempt to control what occurs naturally in the body also plays a role.
Consider tossing meds that alter gut bacteria and choose natural foods instead
For example, the authors of Why Stomach Acid is Good For You: Natural Relief from Heartburn, Indigestion, Reflux & GERD, Jonathan Wright, MD, and Lane Lenard, PhD, explain that people’s excessive use of over-the-counter and prescribed medications designed to keep stomach acid at bay is doing more harm than good to one’s system. People pop the likes of antacids like it’s going out of style, often without considering the fact that ingestion of these items disrupts healthy gut bacteria and may even lead to MORE of what they’re trying to escape in the first place. Their bottom line is that healthy bacteria is needed to flourish, not be tampered with as though they are an evil meant to be constantly fought off.(5,6)
To keep healthy gut flora intact and bolster immunity while staving off metabolic syndrome and conditions such as Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome and even seasonal allergies, experts suggest eating a diet rich in probiotics, which are already existent in a normal digestive system. Probiotic-rich foods include sauerkraut, plain unflavored yogurt, kefir, miso, kombucha tea, tempeh and kimchi.(7,8)
Sources for this article include: