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Is Diabetes linked to bacteria invading your colon?

Important Points:

  • Gut bacteria
  • Microbiota
  • Type 2 Diabetes

Is Diabetes linked to bacteria invading your colon?

The gut has been called by many scientists as the second brain. Our brain regulates the intricate functions of our body autonomously while we go about our business. The same goes for our gastrointestinal system. Our GI is not just an organ system dedicated to digestion and excretion; it is a highly specialized network of neurons lining our guts and a complicated collection of microscopic organisms that play a vital role in our mental state, emotions, and metabolism.

In a recent study conducted by the Georgia State University, the role of the gut was shown to have major significance in predisposing a person to type 2 diabetes. In the study, researchers from the Institute of Biomedical Sciences have discovered that when gut microbiota stays within the outer regions of the mucus lining, it has no significant negative effect on the person but when the gut microbiota encroaches upon the cells well beyond its designated area, it has been found to cause inflammation which can interfere with the normal functioning of the hormone insulin and thus leading to type 2 diabetes.

As of the moment, researchers are still conducting follow-up studies to isolate the specific bacteria that invade the lining and cause the inflammation that triggers the metabolic cascade into diabetes. Researchers are optimistic that when the bacteria are identified, it would pave the way in developing new treatments for type 2 diabetes.

Think Twice: How the Gut’s “Second Brain” Influences Mood and Well-Being

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/gut-second-brain/

Diabetes Linked To Bacteria Invading The Colon, Institute For Biomedical Sciences Study Finds

http://news.gsu.edu/2017/05/30/diabetes-bacteria-invading-colon/
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What can you eat to improve your gut flora and reduce inflammation?

Important Points:

  • Gastro Intestinal tract (GI)
  • Inflammation
  • Gut flora
  • Gut bacteria
  • Microbiome
  • Balance

What can you eat to improve your gut flora and reduce inflammation?

Your gut microbiome is made up of trillions of bacteria and other microorganisms — both friendly and unfriendly. Maintaining the right balance of bacteria in your gut is believed to improve digestion, reduce inflammation, decrease anxiety, and even improve brain function and mood. A healthy balance of gut bacteria is also said to boost metabolism, eliminate cravings, and help you shed unwanted weight. We will look at ways in which you can achieve this by the food you eat.

  • What functions happen in the gut?

Digestion: Carbohydrates the body is otherwise unable to process are fermented in the large intestine,where our friendly bacteria reside. Through this process they reduce gut inflammation, stimulate and improve metabolic function, and produce essential nutrients such as vitamin K.

Brain Health: Our gut prompts the production of several neurotransmitters, including serotonin; remarkably, 95% of serotonin is actually produced in our gut! Serotonin affects every part of your body and is viewed as a natural mood stabilizer regulating anxiety, happiness and mood. It is said that the way to a man’s heart is through the stomach. Is this why?

 Immunity: Approximately 70% of our immune system is situated in the gut. The beneficial flora our immune system is able to differentiate between friend and adversary and rebalance the immune system when it gets off-kilter.

  • How can we improve our gut health?

Proactive ways to improve our gut health:

  • Proper digestion: When we eat, we need to make sure that proper digestion takes place. The key to proper digestion is making sure we absorb all our food. How can we optimize our absorption? We can start by turning off the T.V., putting aside all our work, and sitting down at the table, so that all our energy can be focused on eating and digestion. Food is meant to be enjoyed, so chew and taste it!
  • Re-establish gut bacteria: Probiotics and fermented food, such as sauerkraut, kimchi and miso are the key to reestablishing the good bacteria in your gut. Eating plenty of whole plant foods, packed with fiber is another critical part of nourishing a healthy microbiota. Warning! Gluten-free foods and even a lot of salads can actually be low in fiber. To support the growth of good bacteria, probiotics aim to consume certain prebiotics, such as: almonds, bananas, garlic and onion, which will help to feed those friendly bacteria in your gut.
  • Take an anti-Inflammatory diet: Aim for fresh food or one-ingredient foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, lean meat or dairy and minimize processed foods. Omega 3 is a beneficial anti-inflammatory nutrient, so try incorporating salmon, walnuts, chia seeds or flax seeds into your diet. To spice up soups, stews, or stir fries, add turmeric as it is another amazing anti-inflammatory food.
  • What should you eat to boost your Gut Health?

Foods that boost your microbiome:

  • Eat more prebiotics

Scientists have identified a few species among the many trillions of microbes that live in your intestines playing a crucial role in gut health and maintaining a balanced immune system. Your dietary intake is vital to allowing these species to flourish and to preventing imbalances that can lead to disease. Prebiotics provide a good food source for certain populations of healthy gut bacteria, such as bifidobacteria, which, in turn, prevent intestinal inflammation. Studies have shown that prebiotics can be particularly beneficial for obese people, as they reduce insulin and cholesterol levels, while lowering the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Prebiotics can be bought as supplements or taken in naturally by eating asparagus, leeks, bananas, garlic and Jerusalem artichoke.

  • Focus on fiber and wholegrains

Western diets tend to be rich in fat and sugar with most of our food coming from only Twelve plant and five animal species. However, following a diet rich in high-fiber foods such as apples, artichokes, blueberries, chickpeas, lentils, peas and beans can limit the growth of harmful bacteria and stimulate Bifidobacterium, lactobacilli and another healthy species called Bacteroidetes.

  • Take fermented products

Fermented foods such as kimchi, kefir, kombucha, natural yoghurts and fermented soya bean milk have been shown to promote the abundance of healthy gut bacteria and reduce the levels of enterobacteriaceae, a family of bacteria linked to a number of chronic diseases. Natural yoghurt enriched with bifidobacteria has also been found to alleviate lactose intolerance in children and adults, while yoghurts enhanced with lactobacilli have had some beneficial results in patients with inflammatory bowel disease. Avoid flavored yoghurts, which tend to contain high levels of sugar.

  • Ensure you take some polyphenols

Polyphenols are plant compounds that are mainly digested by gut bacteria and are associated with a variety of benefits including a reduction in blood pressure, cholesterol and oxidative stress. They are found in almonds, blueberries and broccoli as well as in green tea, cocoa and red wine. The types of polyphenols found in cocoa are linked to changes in the microbiome that reduce inflammation and triglyceride levels.

  • Avoid artificial sweeteners at all costs

Artificial sweeteners such as aspartame are commonly used in food as replacements for sugar. Aspartame specifically has been found to alter gut bacteria in human and animal studies, and these changes appear to result in elevated blood sugar levels and increased susceptibility to metabolic disease.

  • Breastfeed your baby

 Our microbiome is continually developing during our first two years of life. A number of studies have shown that babies who are breastfed for six months develop a much healthier gut compared with those who are fed with formula. Children who have been breastfed are also less prone to allergies, obesity, leukemia and diabetes; this is thought to be linked to the microbiome.

  • Go vegetarian

Several studies have suggested that vegetarian diets may be good for the microbiome, with findings indicating that a largely plant-based diet decreases the levels of disease-causing bacteria such as E coli and Enterobacteriaceae. This may be particularly beneficial for obese people with type 2 diabetes or hypertension. One small study found that obese people who switched to a vegetarian diet had reduced levels of potentially harmful bacteria as well as lower levels of cholesterol and inflammation after one month.

  • How to ensure your gut flora flourishes

The gastrointestinal tract is important to human health. In recent years, scientists have discovered that the GI system has an even bigger, more complex job than previously appreciated. It has been linked to numerous aspects of health that do not necessarily involve digestion, from immunity to emotional stress to chronic illnesses, including cancer and Type 2 diabetes.

There are trillions of bacteria found in the GI tract, which not only help us process food but also help our bodies maintain homeostasis and overall well-being. Experts say the key may lie in the microbiome—the makeup of bacteria and other microorganisms in the stomach and intestines or informally, the gut.

Research on the microbiome is still in its infancy. But studies have already found that certain environments, foods, and behaviors can influence gut health for better or worse. Fermented food sources—like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut and kimchi—that have other nutritional benefits as well, should be considered in the front lines of influencing gut flora.

Finally, there are the cutting-edge ways in which doctors are beginning to manipulate the gut microbiome directly through Fecal transplants which introduce donor stool material containing healthy bacteria into the intestinal tract of a recipient, have been used to treat IBD as well as C. difficile, a dangerous infection that causes recurrent diarrhea. Researchers are also studying how bacteria-killing viruses can target strains of E. coli associated with Crohn’s disease. It is most beneficial to stick to natural food sources as much possible because a lot is still unknown about the microbiome and the effects of altering it.

References

  1. Healthline (2019): The Microbiome Diet: Can It Restore Your Gut Health? Retrieved from

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/microbiome-diet

  • Time (2019): Here’s Everything You Need to Know About Gut Health. Retrieved from

https://time.com/5556071/gut-health-diet/

  • Food Yourself (2018): Gut Flora and How to Improve your Gut Health. Retrieved from

https://www.foodyourself.com/blog/2018/12/4/gut-flora-and-how-to-improve-your-gut-health

  • NCBI (2013): Strict vegetarian diet improves the risk factors associated with metabolic diseases by modulating gut microbiota and reducing intestinal inflammation. Retrieved from

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24115628

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Can gut microbial activity be used as serotonin drug treatment?

Important Points:

  • Gut bacteria
  • Serotonin
  • Depression

Can gut microbial activity be used as serotonin drug treatment?

Serotonin is known to be the crucial neurotransmitter needed for emotion and behavior regulation. It has been long established that imbalances in serotonin levels are related to depression and bouts of anxiety. Despite being a major neurotransmitter exerting its effect on brain function, up to 90% of our serotonin is produced in the enterochromaffin cells found in the gastrointestinal tract.

The surprising location of its origin may imply a bigger role for serotonin than what researchers have initially thought. This could further support findings that point out that serotonin may not be just a substance that has an exclusive brain significance but also possibly linked to other diseases like osteoporosis and heart disease.

In line with these results regarding the other possible functions of serotonin, researchers from the California Institute of Technology have reported in their study that serotonin could be directly related to microbial activity in the gut. They have discovered that mice without gut microbes produced 60 percent less serotonin compared to those with normal gut bacteria. Upon restoring the presence of normal gut flora, the serotonin levels shot back within normal parameters. This reversible causal relationship seems to prove the hypothesis that serotonin production is heavily reliant on certain types of gut bacteria. 

Researchers are now excited to find out which bacteria can be used to modulate the body’s level of serotonin. Once identified, this could be the first step in the path of creating new medications that could possibly support or replace the mode of actions seen in the medication SSRI or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors used to treat depression.

Yin and yang of serotonin neurons in mood regulation: More nuanced view of brainstem neurons could lead to better drugs for depression, anxiety

www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/11/151119134012.htm

Inhibiting serotonin in gut could cure osteoporosis

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-02/cumc-isi020110.php

Serotonin may play role in hardening of the arteries

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2006-03/uopm-smp022706.php

Microbes Help Produce Serotonin in Gut

https://www.caltech.edu/news/microbes-help-produce-serotonin-gut-46495