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What Your Gut Bacteria Say About You

What Your Gut Bacteria Say About You

What Are Gut Bacteria?

Your Gut contains 300 to 500 different kinds of bacteria containing almost 2 million genes. Paired with other organisms like fungi and viruses, they make the microbiota.

Your gut bacteria is unique like a fingerprint

Each person’s microbiota is distinctive. The bacteria in your body are different from everyone else’s bacteria. It’s determined partially by your mother’s microbiota, the environment that you’re exposed to at birth and partially from your lifestyle and diet.

Role of gut bacteria

The bacteria live all over your body mostly in your intestines and colon, but the ones in your gut may have the biggest impact on your well-being. They line your entire digestive system. They affect everything from your mood to your metabolism and to your immune system. They also help digest food and have an important role on your health. Research suggests your gut bacteria are related to the possibility of you having things such as obesity, depression, diabetes, and colon cancer.

Link between Gut Bacteria and Disease

People who have certain diseases have different Gut bacteria compared to healthy people. People who are not healthy may have too much or too little of a certain type. They might lack a variety of bacteria. Some kinds may protect against diseases, whereas others may increase the risk. Scientists started to draw links between the bacteria in your gut and the following illnesses :

1.Heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and Obesity: Your gut bacteria affect your metabolism. They verify things like the number of calories you get from food and what kinds of nutrients you gain. Too much gut bacteria can turn fiber into fatty acids. This may lead to fat deposits in your liver, which can lead to something called “metabolic syndrome” a condition that often leads to obesity ,type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.

2.Inflammatory bowel diseases, including ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease: People with these conditions have lower levels of certain anti-inflammatory gut bacteria. But the reason is still unclear. Some bacteria may make your body attack your intestines and cause these diseases.

3.Colon cancer: Studies show that people with colon cancer have a different gut microbiota compared to healthy people, in addition to higher levels of disease-causing bacteria.

4.Depression, anxiety, and autism: The gut contains nerve endings that communicate with the brain. Studies suggested that there might be a link between gut bacteria and disorders of the central nervous system, like depression, anxiety, and autism.

5.Arthritis: People with rheumatoid arthritis might have greater amounts of bacteria linked to inflammation than people without it.

How can you get healthy gut bacteria?

-Start by eating a nutritious diet. The gut microbiota can be changed through diet that contains fiber-rich foods, like vegetables, fruits, whole grains and fish. A diet that’s high in fat, sugar and processed food and low in fiber can kill some tyoes of gut bacteria, which can make your microbiota less diverse.
-Exercise encourages the growth of a variety of gut bacteria. You can have a better health which, In turn, reduces your risk of diseases by having a more varied gut microbiota
-Probiotics: which are good bacteria that help in the digestive system. One of the best sources of probiotics is yogurt. You can’t just take probiotics in food or in supplements to treat diabetes or arthritis. Experts say that more research needs to be done to pinpoint the exact types of bacteria that lead to certain diseases.

NB: What makes a microbiome less diverse? Experts suspect that C-sections and lack of breast-feeding are two factors: C-sections deprive newborns of beneficial bacteria from the birth canal, while breast milk feeds gut bacteria.

Christelle Bedrossian
Beirut, Lebanon




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Dietitian Christelle Bedrossian