Sunday, December 10, 2017

Health and Wellness: Gut Bacteria

Blog 7.0: Gut Bacteria (Flora)

On the previous blog, we touched on the topic of how our gut bacteria can either promote health or lead to ill health. On this post, we will look at some of the benefits in a bit more detail.

Gut flora which represent the numerous varieties of bacteria in our intestines are responsible for synthesis of certain vitamins and amino acids. Vitamin K, which is crucial for the blood clotting after an injury, is made by our gut bacteria. Biotin, a B vitamin is also produced by these bacteria. Biotin assists the cell in energy production and is essential for healthy hair and nails.

Gut bacteria play a crucial role in production of neuroactive substances such as serotonin. Serotonin is important in regulating our mood and its deficiency is associated with depression.
There is emerging evidence that gut bacteria may play a role in development of ADD(attention deficit disorder), obsessive compulsive disorder, autism and Alzheimer’s disease.

Gut bacteria is crucial for digestion and absorption of nutrients from certain types of  dietary fibers which would otherwise be indigestible. Fermentation of these fibers  allows us to harvest more energy in the form of short chain fatty acids. These fatty acids not only serve as fuel for the cells that line our intestine but it keeps them healthy. One such fatty acid, butyrate, a short chain fatty acid,  has power anti-inflammatory function and reduces risk of development of colon cancer.

In the posts that follow we will explore how a plant based diet fosters growth of these symbiotic bacteria (Probacteria)  which perform all these wonderful actions.


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