The intestinal microbe is related to several aspects of the mental and physical health of humans. What is known so far by the bacteria that inhabit our intestines and their impact on our bodies?
Considering arrow around probiotic foods and other fermented food products, it's always good to stop and think for a moment about the reasons why we put so much importance in our bowel health. There are hundreds of different kinds of "good bacteria" in the stomach and intestines that help us learn what we consume.
This is what is known as an intestinal microbe. This "good flora" consists of the bacteria we have been born with – the direct legacy of our mothers – and those that we have gained thanks to our own diet and our way of life. Every person has a unique bacterial mixture in their body. It is believed that some foods promote "good flora" more than others.
Foods high in fiber, fruit and vegetables, fermented dairy products such as yoghurt or kefir, for example, tend to grow "good bacteria" in our digestive systems and to repel "bad bacteria", leaving them without flourish. Researchers still have to learn a lot about the functioning of our microbes. These are the latest discoveries.
Bacteria and mental health
Anxiety, depression and autism are attributed to a mixture of bacteria present or absent in the digestive system of affected people. A study published in Belgium states that patients with a diagnosis of depression are deprived of certain types of bacteria. Studies continue with a view to developing treatments and mechanisms for bacterial bowel repopulation.
The microbot map
Institutions from the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia have worked together on a mapping program for all bacteria present in the human digestive system. So far, scientists have cataloged 273 different bacterial species. They hope that, like the Human Genome Project, their research will lead to a comprehensive understanding of the functions of the bacteria.
Bacteria and physical health
Researchers have found correlations between certain diseases – type 2 diabetes, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, colon cancer, high blood pressure and heart disease, for example – and unhealthy intestines. The intestinal microbial of the patients analyzed is very different from that of fully healthy people.
The use of probiotics
Swallowing probiotic foods to promote "good flora" when a healthy intestinal microbe is already available is discouraged by several scientific studies. The Weizmann Institute of Science, based in Israel, found that digestive systems with enough "good bacteria" "They repelled the new bacteria provided by probiotic foods, giving them room to thrive.
Scientists from this center also found that consuming probiotics to compensate for the loss of "good flora" generated by antibiotics intake slows the normal process of re-colonizing the intestines with "good bacteria" instead of speeding it up … By the way, it is important to distinguish between probiotics and prebiotics; the latter are less well known.
Use of prebiotics
Prebiotics such as yogurt contain elements that bacteria need to produce certain chemicals. These chemicals find their way into the bloodstream and can help lower blood pressure. Fruit foods (fruits such as bananas and vegetables such as onions, garlic and asparagus) and whole grains are prebiotics for many types of bacteria.