The use of probiotics has increased dramatically in recent years, and for good reason. More and more research is indicating how important having beneficial bacteria in our system is to overall health. A recent study indicates that it might just play a role in proper weight management as well.
Each of us has over 100 trillion bacteria in our body. That number is staggering and even more so when you consider the fact that we have more bacteria in our body than cells! So, it stands to reason that we might want to pay more attention to making sure we have the proper balance of bacterial flora in our bodies.
So what role do beneficial bacteria play in your body? The author of the attached article points out:
Your intestinal bacteria are part of your immune system, and researchers are discovering that microbes of all kinds play instrumental roles in countless areas of your health. For example, beneficial bacteria, also known as probiotics, have been shown to:
- Modulate your immune response and reduce inflammation
- Produce vitamins, absorb minerals, and eliminate toxins
- Control asthma and reduce risk of allergies
- Benefit your mood and mental health
- Boost weight loss
Beneficial bacteria also control the growth of disease-causing bacteria by competing for nutrition and attachment sites in your colon. This is of immense importance, as pathogenic bacteria and other less beneficial microbes can wreak havoc with your health if they gain the upper hand.
This area of health is so important that there are currently three major efforts underway to better understand the role of bacteria in overall health. The International Human Microbiome Consortium, The Us National Institute of Health’s Human Microbiome Project, and American Gut Project.
Recently it was discovered that bacteria can affect our food cravings and play a role in successful weight loss. The author of the attached article states:
As it relates to weight management, one hypothesis states that your gut bacteria may in fact be in control of your appetite. Recent research5 suggests there’s a positive-feedback loop between the foods you crave and the composition of the microbiota in your gut that depend on those nutrients for their survival. Microbes that thrive on sugar, for example, can signal your brain to eat more sweets. Other studies6,7 have shown that certain bacteria found in your gut can produce insulin resistance and weight gain by triggering chronic low-grade inflammation in your body.”
The field of scientific study in the area of bacteria is expanding every day, and new study’s will inevitably fine tune our understanding of our individual bacterial microbiomes. In the meantime, what can you do now? The first thing is to make sure your diet is rich in whole, unprocessed, unsweetened foods, along with traditionally fermented and cultured foods. In addition, it might be a good idea to supplement daily with a high-quality probiotic to ensure you’re getting a good daily dose of beneficial bacteria.
Enjoy the article.
Michael Lenz RPh, is a partner in Fallon Wellness Pharmacy of Saratoga. He has over 15 years experience in custom compounding. Michael has received extensive training in Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) and Adrenal Fatigue. He is an advocate for healthy eating and proper nutritional supplementation, and speaks frequently on the subjects of hormone health, nutrition and wellness. Michael is currently enrolled in the Institute For Functional Medicine’s Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner Program. He lives in Saratoga Springs, NY with his wife and 4 children.