Nowadays it is known that the composition of the organisms that live in your intestine determines, at least to some extent, the way your body stores the food you eat, how easy (or difficult) you can lose weight and how good it is the function of your metabolism. And lo and behold, the hidden secret never told about losing weight, could be a healthy gut.
Hidden secret to losing weight: a healthy gut
Our gut is home to approximately 100,000,000,000,000 (100 trillion) microorganisms. That's such a large number that our human brains can't really understand it.
There are 10 times more bacteria in our gut than there are human cells in the entire body, with more than 400 diverse bacterial species known. In fact, you could say that we are more bacteria than humans. Think on that for a minute.
We have recently begun to fully understand the true impact gut flora has on human health and disease.
Among other things, the intestinal flora promotes proper gastrointestinal function, provides protection against infections, regulates metabolism and comprises more than 75% of our immune system.
A dysregulated intestinal flora has been linked to diseases ranging from autism and depression to autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and type 1 diabetes among others.
Recent research has shown that gut flora and overall gut health also play a role in both obesity and diabetes.
Let's take a closer look at the mechanisms involved.
Bad bacteria promote obesity and metabolic diseases
A study published this year found that mice that do not have a protein known as Toll-like receptor 5 (TLR5) in their gut gain excess weight and develop diabetes and fatty liver disease when fed a high-fat diet.
This is because without the presence of TLR5 in the gut, bad bacteria can get out of control.
The study authors found that these bad bacteria caused low-grade inflammation in the mice, causing them to eat more and develop insulin resistance.
Antibiotics damage the intestine
They also found that treating these mice with strong antibiotics (enough to kill most of the bacteria in the gut) reduced their metabolic abnormalities.
But the most interesting part of this study is what happened when the researchers transferred the intestinal flora of the overweight and TLR5-deficient mice to the intestines of the lean mice: the lean mice immediately began to eat more and eventually developed the same ones. metabolic abnormalities than overweight mice.
In other words, obesity and diabetes were "transferred" from one group of mice to the other simply by exchanging their gut flora.
Other studies have shown that the composition of the intestinal flora differs in obese and diabetic people, and in people of normal weight without metabolic irregularities.
One possible mechanism that explains why changes in the intestinal flora cause diabetes and obesity is that different species of bacteria appear to have different effects on appetite and metabolism.
In the TLR5-deficient mouse study mentioned above, mice that had too many bad bacteria in their guts experienced an increase in appetite and consumed about 10 percent more food than their normal relatives.
But the point was not just that these mice were hungrier and ate more; their metabolisms were also damaged. When their diet was restricted, they lost weight, but still had insulin resistance.
Modern life ruins our gut and makes us obese and diabetic
In the end, what all of this research suggests is that healthy gut bacteria are crucial to maintaining a regular weight and metabolism.
Unfortunately, several characteristics of the modern lifestyle contribute directly to developing an unhealthy intestinal flora:
· Antibiotics and other medications such as contraceptives and NSAIDs
· Diets high in refined carbohydrates, sugar, and processed foods
· Low fermentable fiber diets
· Dietary toxins like wheat and industrial seed oils that cause leaky gut
· Chronic stress
· Chronic infections
It is also known that babies who are not breastfed and born to mothers with poor gut flora are more likely to develop unhealthy gut bacteria, and that these early differences in gut flora can predict future overweight and obesity.
It is interesting to note that the epidemic of "diabesity" has coincided perfectly with the increasing prevalence of factors that disturb the intestinal flora.
It doesn't mean that poor gut health is the sole cause of obesity and diabetes, but it may be that it probably plays a much bigger role than most people think.
How to maintain and restore a healthy intestinal flora
The most obvious first step in maintaining a healthy gut is avoiding all of the things listed above.
But of course, that is not always possible, especially in the case of chronic stress and infections, and whether we were breastfed or our mothers had healthy intestines.
If you've been exposed to any of these factors, there are still steps you can take to restore your gut flora:
· Eliminate all food toxins from your diet
· Eat lots of fermentable fibers (starches like sweet potatoes, yams, cassava, etc.)
· Take a high-quality probiotic or consider more radical methods to restore a healthy gut flora
· Treats any intestinal pathogens (such as parasites) that may be present
· Take steps to manage your stress.
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