The gut microbiota affects health and disease

The intestinal barrier is man’s first defense against dangerous substances in the intestines and the system has many physical and chemical properties. The function of the intestinal barrier can be compared to a filter. It should protect against harmful substances and bacteria while absorbing nutrition from the diet. Recent years’ research has shown that the gut flora (microbiota) of the gastrointestinal tract, from the mouth to the large intestine, but also on skin and mucous membranes, is important for health and disease. Today, extensive microbiota research is conducted in the world.

The gut has two contradictory tasks; partly to absorb nutrients from the food we eat, but at the same time not pass through unwanted substances. Therefore, a dense barrier to the outside is required and also immune cells that capture substances in the intestinal mucosa and are ready to initiate the body’s defense of cells and antibodies if any toxic substance or similar has passed through the intestinal barrier. It is therefore important that bacteria stay on the right side of the intestine. If some bacteria succeed in getting into the blood on the other side of the intestine, this could lead to death, as the bacteria can multiply rapidly. In the past, people have not been aware of the critical function of the intestinal barrier to maintain good health or how to positively affect the barrier function by improving the intestinal flora.

Leakage in the intestinal barrier can cause increased ill-health

The intestinal barrier can be affected by many factors, such as diet, bacteria, stress and various disease states. Some bacteria seem to be able to affect the intestine to become more permeable, while other bacteria can help seal the intestinal barrier, but exactly how this goes to is not known today. It has also been seen that during stress the number of good lactobacilli decreases, which opens up the intestinal barrier. This can be one of the reasons why you can get stomach problems when you stress too much. It has been seen that the intestinal barrier leaks in a number of diseases, such as type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, gluten intolerance and various inflammatory bowel diseases, and that this leakage may even have occurred even before the disease broke out. In various skin diseases such as flexor eczema and psoriasis, impaired bowel barrier function has also been observed. When it comes to allergies, for example, it seems that the lactobacilli can calm down the immune cells that are in the gut, so that even the rest of the body’s immune cells stop responding too much. Here, bacterial strains such as Lactobacillus and Bifidibacterium appear to be able to suppress the immune system, reducing overreactions.

Intestinal function

The stomach produces hydrochloric acid, which means that the amount of bacteria there is relatively low. The upper part of the small intestine, closest to the stomach, has a low pH because partially digested food from the stomach is still acidic by the hydrochloric acid. In addition, the small intestine is an ideal environment for the acid-producing lactobacilli. The large intestine contains a large amount of bacteria. This is where the food lies for the longest time before the body finally gets rid of the substances it does not want.

Human intestinal system contains just over one kilo of bacteria. The bacteria are ten times more than the own cells that make up our body. A normal intestine contains a little simplified between 400 and 1000 different bacterial species. In healthy individuals, there is a greater variation between different gut bacterial strains, while in obesity and some other diseases there is a less pronounced variation. Fewer than 100 species of bacteria are dangerous for us, while the vast majority are “beneficial”. The gut also contains between 70 and 90 percent of all immune cells. The bacteria train our immune system and are necessary to form hormones, vitamins, minerals and neurotransmitters. Both dopamine and the “lean” hormone serotonin are produced in the gut. Like the adrenaline and norepinephrine needed to deal with stress and Gaba calming the nervous system.

The intestinal flora can affect the immune system

Research indicates that the gut flora plays a major role in our immune system and therefore in the future it will also be very interesting to study whether the gut flora can affect mental and neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, autism, ADHD, stress, anxiety and depression. .

Saturated fat and sugar could adversely affect the gut flora. This can form a large proportion of bacteria whose envelope consists of a substance called lps, lipopolysaccharides. When these bacteria die and enter the bloodstream, the intestinal barrier is loosened up so that lps more easily enter the bloodstream. They can then increase the inflammatory processes in the body and decrease the immune system. However, larger studies are required where you also compare a more normal intake of sugar and saturated fat. This could be interesting as there are studies showing that people with Alzheimer’s and severe depression have abnormally high levels of LPS.

Food with extra bacteria

Acidified vegetables contain many of the good bacteria that the body seems to need, such as Kimchi and kombucha with over 100 billion beneficial bacteria per gram. The reason for this large amount of beneficial bacteria is its fermentation processes. The method is called fermentation or lactic acid fermentation and is the key to creating good bacteria for the important intestinal flora.

The gut microbiome affects our health

It is complex and there is still a lot we do not know, but thanks to research we have learned that the immune system, the hormone system and the neurological system, cooperate with the intestinal nervous system. In other words, a tight intestine seems to be necessary for you to feel good. What we put in us affects the gut flora and if we eat products with beneficial bacteria and a lot of fiber we can affect our health more positively than we think. On the other hand, if we choose to eat very fast foods and semi-manufactured foods, the risk of inflammatory processes is greater, which in the worst case can make us sick. New diet products may conceivably lead to better health through a beneficial effect on the gut microbiota, but it cannot replace a varied and good diet.

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