Gut Flora and Weight Loss Day Two
The Obesity/Bacteria Connection
Yesterday we examined the overall connection between the micro floral bacteria in our GI tract and our immune system, our health and our general digestion of nutrients. The point we were trying to make is that you want to be healthy you can't ignore the bugs.
Today we are going to take the argument to a higher imperative, something we can all relate to – excess body fat We have made the point that the bugs in your GI tract are important to your overall health. Well get ready for the really big news…
The cutting edge of research into obesity shows a connection between the micro flora composition in our GI tract and excess body weight!
This recent discovery (Gordon – Washington Univ School of Medicine) correlates distinct types of stomach flora to obesity. In both humans and mice, obesity tends to correlate with greater proportions of micro bacteria that extract more calories from food.
In other words, obese people have different proportions of micro floral bacteria than lean people. The micro floral bacteria of obese people extract more calories from food.
Conversely, lean mice and lean humans, or obese individuals who lose significant weight have proportionately fewer of these calorically efficient micro flora. In technical terms, obese people have a greater proportion of micro flora from Firmicutes, which includes many of the Baccili and Clostridia. Lean people show lower proportions of Firmicutes.
So, before you go out and start formulating an anti-biotic regimen to kill off more Firmicutes, keep in mind that correlations don't always indicate causes, and we are still a ways away from understanding how to treat obesity by altering proportions of intestinal micro flora. However, this recent research does illustrate that the health and composition of your intestinal micro flora are an essential component of any plan to be lean and fit for life.
Those of us interested in weight loss and the goal of being lean and fit for life need to understand the vital role intestinal flora exert in our efforts to eat right and absorb what we eat.
Today we look at the good bugs and the role they play in our health and digestion.
The stomach and small intestine contain the least amount of bacterial flora, while the colon is home to the majority of both major flora (or 'good' bacteria) and minor flora, or 'bad' microbes.
Within the colon can be found a range of micro floral bacteria, including ps. Aeroginosa, proteus sp., staphylococci, clostridia and veillonellae, all of which are considered to be health negative organisms, or those that have the potential to upset the balance of bacteria. To appreciate how important the control of micro floral's are, consider that they can cause illness or even death by building up unhealthy carcinogens and causing intestinal putrefaction.
Healthy neutral flora (those with both negative and positive intestinal impact) includes e. coli, enterococci, streptococci and bacteroids. The list of gut flora that has only health positive impact are lactobacilli and bifid bacteria.
The two main health-positive gut flora bacteria are lactobacilli and bifid bacteria. These two powerhouses are directly responsible for keeping pathogens in check while supporting the immune system. They coexist with dangerous pathogens in the gut and keep those in check by virtue of competing for food. They exist in a balance so delicate that many factors such as stress, poor diet or simply taking antibiotics can upset the balance in a negative way.
Probiotics In Your Diet
You can alter the balance of your micro floral bacteria to exert many beneficial effects such as preventing or fighting diseases (including cancer), increasing your energy, and as we have just seen, even potentially lose weight. The way to do this is to get large doses of food or drugs rich in both lactobacilli and bifid bacteria and introduce it orally to your body.
You can get your doses of probiotic gut flora from foods rich in it such as bananas, whole grain foods, commercially fermented milk products such as yogurt, leeks and asparagus to name a few. There are also many supplements on the market that give you a mega dose of millions of live probiotic flora in the form of a single pill. Though most doctors agree that it is best to ingest your vitamins though food, there is no evidence to suggest that the same holds true for probiotics, making supplements both efficient and cost-effective.
Taking additional probiotics beyond what is naturally in your intestines has been shown as an autoimmune booster that can stave off cancer. It also aids in digestion and can help prevent irritable bowels. A recent study showed that a cocktail of lactobacillus, bifid bacterium and streptococcus provided relief to sufferers of Crohn's disease. There is also evidence to suggest that probiotics could be combined with other drugs to give a cheaper alternative to the current AIDS treatment cocktail AZT.
Probiotic use will also reduce exposure to allergies, especially in children. Due to an increasingly sterile environment we live in, the body is exposed to less pathogens, causing our immune systems to not build up any tolerance. This snowballs and can cause allergic reactions to otherwise harmless substances.
It is rumored that probiotics can also prevent or treat everything from autism to acne, though there are no credible studies to give any concrete evidence on these particular conditions.
Do not confuse probiotics with prebiotics, which are not the same thing. Prebiotics are what probiotics feed on. Eating prebiotics can have the same affect as taking probiotics, though- by feeding probiotics in the gut, you are essentially allowing them to further colonize and reproduce, having a similar affect as mega dosing in supplements. Manna oligosaccharides (MOS) are one of the two main prebiotics that aid in immune functions while Fructanoligosaccharides (FOS) provide the fructan that actually feed the acid-producing good bacteria.
Tomorrow …Maladaptive Gut Bacteria.