Gut Bacteria and the Microbiome
You are host to 100 trillion bacteria in your gut. Be VERY nice to them…Your health depends on it!
They live in your intestines and comprise what experts say is literally an organ within an organ with vast influence over your immune system, digestion, elimination, and many other functions in your body, including your energy level, mental state, and even your weight.
What you eat, the medications you take, and the stress in your life can determine how well this organ – experts call it “the microbiome” – operates. In other words, how healthy you are (or not) and how good you feel (or not).
Within this vast population of microorganisms are colonies of specific bacterial strains. They run the gamut from beneficial probiotics (such as the familiar lactobacillus) to pathogenic villains like Clostridium difficile that cause diarrhea. A sort of turf warfare goes on continually within your gut.
But your actions have a lot to do with who comes out on top.
- 75 percent of the bacteria in your body live in your intestines.
False: Actually, 95 percent of bacteria live in your intestines!
- Varying strains of bacteria compete for resources within you.
True: Inside your gut, various strains of bacteria engage in a sort-of “turf warfare” as they respond to the ever changing environment.
- What you consume impacts the types of bacteria you host.
True: Diet, medications, and even stress levels can affect your microbiome.
- The types of bacteria you host affect your resistance to illness and infection.
True: The beneficial bacteria in your body produce molecules that direct your immune system and influence your genes and numerous cellular mechanisms.
- Some types of bacteria make you more prone to weight gain.
True: Artificial sweeteners, excess sugar consumption, and diets high in processed refined carbohydrates all contribute to the proliferation of less desirable bacteria in the gut. This proliferation causes imbalance in the microbiome and can lead to sugary food cravings, insulin resistance, and weight gain.
- Sugar helps promote the growth of beneficial bacteria.
False: Sugar feeds less beneficial bacteria and causes imbalance in your microbiome.
- Collectively, the bacteria in your body can weigh up to 7 pounds!
False: Collectively, the bacteria would actually weigh about 3.5 pounds – still a pretty hefty population!
- The overzealous use of antibiotics kill healthy bacteria!
True. Antibiotics kill ALL bacteria, healthy or not