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How to have good bacteria in the gut

Confused about what to eat and what not to eat? Live yoghurt is an excellent source of so-called friendly bacteria, also known as probiotics. Look out for sugar-free, full-fat versions and add your own fruit for a tasty breakfast. Yoghurt drinks can contain high numbers of bacteria that are good for the gut, far more than you would find in a normal yoghurt. Do be mindful though as they can have a high sugar content.

SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: Gut bacteria and weight loss: Mayo Clinic Radio

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SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: Best Foods for Healthy Gut Bacteria - The Exam Room Podcast

What is the Gut Microbiome?

In many ways, your gut bacteria are as vast and mysterious as the Milky Way. About trillion bacteria, both good and bad, live inside your digestive system. Collectively, they're known as the gut microbiota. Science has begun to look more closely at how this enormous system of organisms influences—and even improves—health conditions, from heart disease to arthritis to cancer.

But understanding how the gut microbiota works, and how you may benefit, can be daunting. Elizabeth Hohmann of the infectious diseases division at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital. Within those trillions of gut bacteria are about 1, different species, represented by some 5, distinct bacterial strains.

Everyone's gut microbiota is unique, but there are certain combinations and collections of bacteria that are found in healthy individuals. The main factors that affect your personal microbial mix are age, diet, environment, genes, and medications particularly exposure to antibiotics, which can deplete gut bacteria.

Your gut microbiota plays many roles. It metabolizes nutrients from food and certain medications, serves as a protective barrier against intestinal infections, and produces vitamin K, which helps make blood-clotting proteins.

But the gut microbiota may do much more. Most research has involved only preliminary animal studies; however, initial findings suggest gut bacteria may be the key to preventing or treating some diseases. Since the gut microbiota is so complex, it is difficult to pinpoint certain bacteria as the most beneficial. Rheumatoid arthritis. Two studies from the Mayo Clinic suggest gut bacteria may predict susceptibility to rheumatoid arthritis RA as well as offer a possible treatment.

A study published online April 21, , by Genome Medicine looked for a biomarker of the disease. Researchers were able to isolate certain bacteria that are high in RA patients, but low in healthy individuals.

A study published online April 13, , by PLOS ONE offered some evidence that a particular strain of the bacterium Lactobacillus johnsonii may protect against some cancers. Scientists gave mice a mutation that is associated with a high incidence of leukemia, lymphomas, and other cancers.

When treated with the bacterium, the mice developed lymphoma only half as quickly compared with a control group. Heart disease. Research in the February Journal of Applied Microbiology found the bacterial strain Akkermansia muciniphila could prevent inflammation that contributes to fatty plaque buildup in arteries. Scientists believe the effect was due to a protein that blocks communication between cells in the inner lining of the gut.

As a result, fewer toxins from a poor diet could pass into the bloodstream, which in turn reduced inflammation. Immune system. In a study published online Nov. The gains were comparable to treatment with anti-cancer drugs called checkpoint inhibitors.

What does all this mean? Should you even be concerned about your gut microbiota? When the gut is happy, you are happy. Do not overuse antibiotics. Again, overusing antibiotics can deplete good gut bacteria.

Don't be so quick to ask for antibiotics to fight viral ailments like the common cold, she says. Also, if your doctor prescribes one, ask if you really need it, what is the shortest treatment course, and whether there are alternative methods.

Eat more fermented foods. Bacteria are living organisms that need to eat. Other helpful dietary choices include naturally fermented foods containing probiotics live bacteria , such as sauerkraut, pickles, miso, certain types of yogurt, and kefir a yogurt-based drink. Probiotic supplements are another option. They are also touted as a remedy for common digestive problems like irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, and infectious diarrhea.

However, the science is still cloudy about their overall effectiveness for these and other related conditions. People with depressed immune function from late-stage cancer or chemotherapy should not take probiotics.

Also, not all probiotic preparations are the same, so discuss the options with your doctor before you take one. Fecal transplantation? Yes, it's real, and yes, it might help you fight a recurring type of gut infection. A fecal transplant involves inserting stool from a healthy donor into a person's gastrointestinal tract to treat recurrent colitis from Clostridium difficile infection, which causes inflammation in the colon and leads to diarrhea, cramping, and fever.

People with C. This is when fecal transplants are considered. Their job is to replenish good bacteria that have been killed by antibiotics. Fecal matter is not something people would normally consider "healthy," but human stool contains a variety of helpful bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other organisms.

For the procedure, fecal matter is collected from a tested donor, mixed with saline, strained, and then placed into the colon by colonoscopy, endoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, or enema. The longer the patient holds the transplanted stool, the more healthy bacteria are absorbed. A fecal transplant can also be administered in capsule form, or by a tubes going down the nose and into the stomach or small intestine.

Fecal transplants are not covered by most insurance, although the colonoscopy or other transplant procedure might be cov-ered on its own. Disclaimer: As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.

No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician. Harvard Men's Health Watch. Initial research suggests certain bacteria in your gut can prevent and treat many common diseases.

Published: October, E-mail Address. First Name Optional. A new way to fight gut infection Fecal transplantation?

Gut Bacteria

Gut-related messages are everywhere, both in popular media and in science too. Here we provide a back-to-basics introduction on the gut microbiome, and why it is important to your health. These microorganisms, mainly comprising bacteria, are involved in functions critical to your health and wellbeing. These bacteria live in your digestive system and they play a key role in digesting food you eat, and they help with absorbing and synthesising nutrients too.

But we are by no means permanently attached to a diagnosis of Major Depression Disorder if that is what Mom and Dad kindly handed down. Each of us also has a complex collection of bacteria living in our guts — our distinct microbiome — that also has genes.

But in recent years, scientists have discovered that the GI system has an even bigger, more complex job than previously appreciated. The key, experts say, may lie in the microbiome —the makeup of bacteria and other microorganisms in the stomach and intestines, or, informally, the gut. Research on the microbiome is still in its infancy. But studies have already found that certain environments, foods and behaviors can influence gut health for better or worse.

What’s an Unhealthy Gut? How Gut Health Affects You

By: Alison Moodie March 23, Are you feeling down? Are you dealing with skin problems? Do you feel constantly bloated? All of these issues — and more — can be traced back to your gut health. It turns out that the tens of billions of microbes in your digestive tract are the master puppeteers of a healthy gut. Find out what makes these tiny bugs tick, and how you can keep your gut ecosystem healthy and thriving. Your body is home to trillions of microscopic organisms — bacteria, fungi, viruses and other microbes that inhabit almost every part of you.

10 ways to improve gut health

As many countries urge populations to stay at home, many of us are paying more attention to our diets and how the food we eat can support our health. To help sort out the fact from the fiction, BBC Future is updating some of our most popular nutrition stories from our archive. Our colleagues at BBC Good Food are focusing on practical solutions for ingredient swaps, nutritious storecupboard recipes and all aspects of cooking and eating during lockdown. But the science has a way to go before we know exactly what nutrition is best for your gut.

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Collectively, they are known as your gut microbiota, and they are hugely important for your health. However, certain types of bacteria in your intestines can also contribute to many diseases. Interestingly, the food that you eat greatly affects the types of bacteria that live inside you.

15 tips to boost your gut microbiome

The incredible complexity of the gut and its importance to our overall health is a topic of increasing research in the medical community. Numerous studies in the past two decades have demonstrated links between gut health and the immune system, mood, mental health, autoimmune diseases , endocrine disorders, skin conditions, and cancer. A person has about to different species of bacteria in their digestive tract.

SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: Increase Gut Bacteria Diversity: Here's How

K imchi, kombucha, sauerkraut, miso and kefir — all fermented foods and drinks — have been around for centuries, but suddenly they are all the rage. The reason? They are supposedly packed full of gut-healthy microorganisms, and we are finally waking up to just how much the trillions of microorganisms that live in our guts AKA the gut microbiome contribute to our mental and physical health. But Yakult is fairly bland and sweet. Traditional and home-fermented delicacies are another, more pungent matter altogether: kombucha a naturally fizzy cocktail of green tea and sugar tastes vinegary; kimchi vegetables fermented Korean-style is sour and fiery; sauerkraut, which is fermented cabbage, whiffs of sulphur. All can intimidate palates used to highly processed western blandness.

The Gut Microbiome

My Amazing Body is a podcast where we explore interesting, unknown and misunderstood parts of your body with help from medical experts and stories from real Queenslanders. This episode is all about your gut microbiome — the collection of bugs that live in your gut. With clinical dietitian Abigail Marsh, we talk everything from creating a healthy environment for your gut microbiome, to whether the microbes in your gut can control you and why some people are getting poo transplants to help gut health. Sarah, a young Queensland woman, tells us about the after-school job that wreaked havoc with her gut. Audio is great, but some things are best seen as well as heard.

You have many bacteria in your body. In fact, you have more of them than you have cells. Most are good for you. The ones found in your gut not only help you.

In many ways, your gut bacteria are as vast and mysterious as the Milky Way. About trillion bacteria, both good and bad, live inside your digestive system. Collectively, they're known as the gut microbiota.

Magical microbes – how to feed your gut

How do you know if you have poor gut health? Diondra Atoyebi, D. A healthy gut means you have a good balance of bacteria, or microbes, in your gastrointestinal tract.

Support our lifesaving work. Make a donation to the Physicians Committee today. Donate Now. A plant-based diet can improve health and prevent disease by feeding the good bacteria in your digestive tract.

Please refresh the page and retry. Good gut health means looking after this bacteria.

The microbes in your gut can help you to get thinner, be happier and live longer. By Prof Tim Spector. Your gut microbiome is a vast community of trillions of bacteria and fungi that inhabit every nook and cranny of your gastrointestinal tract, and have a major influence on your metabolism, body weight, propensity to illness, immune system, appetite and mood. These microbes mostly live in your lower intestine the colon and outnumber all the other cells in your body put together. Conceptually, we should view these microbes as a newly discovered organ, weighing slightly more than our brains and nearly as vital.

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