Tuesday, February 18, 2014

How Your Gut Microbes Can Affect Your Health

In recent years, it’s become increasingly clear that the microbes in your gut play a much more vital role in your health than previously conceived. In fact, probiotics, along with a host of other gut microorganisms, are so crucial to your health that researchers have compared them to "a newly recognized organ." Some interesting research to date includes:

1.     Behavior: A study published in Neurogastroenterology & Motility8 found mice that lack gut bacteria were found to behave differently from normal mice, engaging in what would be referred to as "high-risk behavior." This altered behavior was accompanied by neurochemical changes in the mouse brain. Researchers stated:

"Bacteria colonize the gut in the days following birth, during a sensitive period of brain development, and apparently influence behavior by inducing changes in the expression of certain genes."

2.     Gene Expression: Researchers have also discovered that the absence or presence of gut microorganisms during infancy permanently alters gene expression. Through gene profiling, they were able to discern that absence of gut bacteria altered genes and signaling pathways involved in learning, memory, and motor control. This suggests that gut bacteria are closely tied to early brain development and subsequent behavior. These behavioral changes could be reversed as long as the mice were exposed to normal microorganisms early in life. But once the germ-free mice had reached adulthood, colonizing them with bacteria did not influence their behavior.

In a similar way, probiotics have also been found to influence the activity of hundreds of your genes, helping them to express in a positive, disease-fighting manner.

4.     Diabetes: Bacterial populations in the gut of diabetics9 differ from non-diabetics, according to a study from Denmark. In particular, diabetics had fewer Firmicutes and more plentiful amounts of Bacteroidetes and Proteobacteria, compared to non-diabetics. The study also found a positive correlation for the ratios of Bacteroidetes to Firmicutes and reduced glucose tolerance. The researchers concluded:

"The results of this study indicate that type 2 diabetes in humans is associated with compositional changes in intestinal microbiota."

6.     Autism: Establishment of normal gut flora in the first 20 days or so of life plays a crucial role in appropriate maturation of your baby's immune system. Hence, babies who develop abnormal gut flora are left with compromised immune systems and are particularly at risk for developing such disorders as ADHD, learning disabilities and autism, particularly if they are vaccinated before restoring balance to their gut flora.


Arnold, C. (2013, 8 21). The verge: Gut feelings:the future of psychiatry may be inside your

stomach . Retrieved from http://www.theverge.com/2013/8/21/4595712/gut-feelings-the-future-of-psychiatry-may-be-inside-your-stomach

Behavioural Neurotherapy Clinic. (2013). Cellular malnutrition and intestinal dysbiosis in

autism. Retrieved from http://www.adhd.com.au/Intestinal_Dysbiosis.htm

Campbell-McBride, N. (2010). Gut and psychology syndrome. Medinform Publishing.

Donaldson, S. (2013, 9 12). Retrieved from http://abcnews.go.com/Health/anxiety-head-


Mercola. (2012, 12 17). “american gut” - one of the most important health projects of the

Ross M.D., C. C. (2012, 10 23). The dirty on good bacteria. Retrieved from



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