By Dr. Keith Kantor
Inflammation and Flora Balance.
Gut flora (gut microbiota, or gastrointestinal microbiota) is the complex community of microorganisms that live in the digestive tracts of humans and other animals, including insects. Throwing the medical jargon aside you can think of these intestinal bacteria as your pets that you need to take care of and that also keep you healthy.
The health of your gut can be directly related to preventing or improving the symptoms of various disorders including inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, infectious and antibiotic-associated diarrhea, diabetes, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and hepatic encephalopathy.
Restoring the balance of intestinal flora by introducing probiotics in addition to lifestyle change for disease prevention and treatment could be beneficial to human health.
In humans, the gut flora is established at one to two years after birth, and by that time the intestinal epithelium and the intestinal mucosal barrier that it secretes have co-developed in a way that is tolerant to, and even supportive of, the gut flora and that also provides a barrier to pathogenic organisms.
Human gut microorganisms benefit the host by collecting the energy from the fermentation of undigested carbohydrates and the subsequent absorption of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), acetate, butyrate, and propionate. Intestinal bacteria also play a role in synthesizing vitamin B and vitamin K as well as metabolizing bile acids, sterols, and xenobiotics. (3,4,8)
The systemic importance of the SCFAs (small chain fatty acids) and other compounds they produce are like hormones and the gut flora itself appears to function like an endocrine organ.
Imbalance of the gut flora has been associated with a host of inflammatory and autoimmune conditions. Extensive modification and imbalances of the gut flora is associated with obesity.
Contributing Factors to poor flora balance include:
Age – Adults have been shown to suffer from poor flora balance more than children, although there are children who do suffer with poor flora balance. Some research points to those who were born via C-section have less exposure to healthy flora, therefore putting them at risk later on in life.
Diet – Consuming a diet RICH in Processed foods will eventually lead to an imbalanced gut flora. Processed sugar feeds Candida and “bad” bacteria (including the pathogen you are trying to destroy with the antibiotic).
Here is a list of processed foods that should be avoided:
Saccharin / Sweet and Low
Sucralose / Splenda.
Acesulfame Potassium / Sunett and Sweet One
Aspartame / NutraSweet, Equal and Sugar Twin.
Neotame / This is the newest of the sweeteners available on the market and was produced by the industrial giant Monsanto. Its chemical structure is similar to that of aspartame and one of its metabolites, too, is formaldehyde. In addition to this, it contains another chemical called 3-dimethylbutyl, which is listed as a harmful chemical by the Environmental Protection Agency. One of its brand names is Sweetos.
Artificial sweeteners have long been promoted as diet and health aids. But breaking research shows that these products may be leading to the very diseases they were said to help prevent: scientists have discovered that, after exposure to artificial sweeteners, our gut bacteria may be triggering harmful metabolic changes.
A saturated fat is a fat in which the fatty acids all have single bonds. Double bonds can react with hydrogen to form single bonds.
- Whole milk
- Ice cream
- Whole-milk cheeses
- Processed and non-natural Meats
- Palm and palm kernel oil
- Artificial (synthetic) preservatives BHA, BHT, TBHQ, MSG (which is also disguised as “yeast extract” in foods on labeling
The above, upon daily consumption will be more likely to show signs of poor gut health. Nutrient deficiencies will also effect flora balance. Those who are malnourished will have a higher content of yeast in their stomach and mouth, a suppressed immune system, poor digestion, autoimmune conditions and higher risk of disease.
These specific foods and a hydroxide rich water that can help fight inflammation and promote gut flora balance include:
- Hydroxide rich alkaline water
- Heart healthy nut and seed butters like sunflower butter (actual nuts and seeds may be painful if colitis is a health issue)
- Heart healthy oils like coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil
- All natural protein sources
- Antioxidant rich produce, including avocado, berries, cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and dark leafy greens.
- Come up with a supplementation plan for your gastrointestinal health. Working with your doctor or qualified health professional, add probiotics to your supplement regimen.
Certain lifestyle trends and habits may contribute to gut health.
- Poor nutrition, environmental toxin exposure, nutrient deficiencies, and stress are all contributing factors to poor flora balance.
- Gut health is influenced negatively by spending too much time inside. Try to get dirty often, you can do this through gardening or walking around barefoot in our grass, etc. The natural bacteria from being outside and breathing in fresh air can help build up your gut immunity in a powerful way.
- Try to detoxify your cosmetics, cleaning products, and food utensils, containers, etc. Look for all natural cosmetics, avoiding parabens, dyes, titanium, etc. Move towards, stainless steel, ceramic, and glass kitchenware.
- The goal of a sound nutrition program, working to reduce inflammation and maintain a healthy gut flora balance includes incorporating these essential nutrients daily:
- Vitamin D – from the Sun, fatty fish like salmon and sardines and if you choose to supplement a simple baseline is 1000IU per 25 lbs. of body weight.
- Vitamin K2 – grass fed butter, egg yolks.
- Magnesium – spinach, Swiss chard, halibut, salmon and pumpkin seeds.
- Additional foods to include in daily nutrition:Omega 3 fatty acids from wild caught salmon, avocados, and cruciferous vegetables like Brussel Sprouts, cabbage, and broccoli.
Foods to Avoid: coffee, sport drinks/juice, candy/ sugar/white flour/ artificial sweeteners and gluten.
- Muraca M,Putignani L, Fierabracci A, Teti A, Perilongo G. Gut microbiota-derived outer membrane vesicles: under-recognized major players in health and disease? Clin Infect Dis.2015 May 15;60 Suppl 2:S108-21. doi: 10.1093/cid/civ177.
- Patel R,DuPont HL.New approaches for bacteriotherapy: prebiotics, new-generation probiotics, and synbiotics. Clin Infect Dis.2015 May 15;60 Suppl 2:S108-21. doi: 10.1093/cid/civ177.
- Goldinand S. L. Gorbach. Clinical Indications for Probiotics: An Overview Oxford Journals Medicine & Health Clinical Infectious Diseases Volume 46, Issue Supplement 2 Pp. S96-S100.
- Sommer F, Bäckhed F. The gut microbiota–masters of host development and physiology.Nat Rev Microbiol. 2013 Apr;11(4):227-38. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro2974. Epub 2013 Feb 25. PMID 23435359.
- Faderl M et al. Keeping bugs in check: The mucus layer as a critical component in maintaining intestinal homeostasis. IUBMB Life. 2015 Apr;67(4):275-85.PMID 25914114
- Quigley EM. Gut bacteria in health and disease.Gastroenterol Hepatol (N Y). 2013 Sep;9(9):560-9. PMID 24729765.