Did you know that an article in the May 2018 Journal of the American Medical Association explained how the bacteria in our colon affect our risk of atherosclerosis, obesity, and diabetes?
The billions of bacteria in our gut collectively contain 100 times more genes than we have in our cells . These genes can make hormones, neurotransmitters, and molecules that affect inflammation that enter our circulation through the wall of the gut.
An example of how the hormones the bacteria make may affect us is shown in this study. They used human twins mostly identical with one obese, then transferred bacteria from the gut of the obese twin to lean mice which then became obese. Obese mice given bacteria from the lean twin became lean.
Some bacteria make molecules that increase inflammation, while others make molecules that decrease inflammation. Increased inflammation in the blood increases insulin resistance which leads to diabetes. Other gut bacteria have also been found to make a molecule that promotes the formation of atherosclerotic plaques.
We tend to think that the value of probiotics is only in their effect on the regularity of our colon. Advertisements for yogurt promote that benefit effectively. You can see how a course of antibiotics can not only make you constipated but can negatively affect your health in many different ways well after you have finished them. You can also understand how important probiotics become after a course of antibiotics. The key role of the bacteria in our colon also reveal why foods rich in probiotics and prebiotics should be part of our diet regularly and not just after antibiotics or when we are constipated.
Since they play a role in the level of systemic inflammation they directly affect our risk of the major killers in this country, such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Check out the other blog to learn more about prebiotics and how you can add more to your diet.