As they say, “you are what you eat.” Well, it could not be truer for our gut. The vast ecosystem of microbes that reside within our stomach is known as, the gut microbiome. It is filled with trillions of bacteria, viruses, and fungi, each serving a purpose within our body. There are many things that can throw off the balance of bacteria in our gut such as chlorine in our water, antibiotics, and poor diet choices. When your gut bacteria is imbalanced you’ll find it nearly IMPOSSIBLE to lose weight. The gut microbiome not only helps regulate your weight but also helps fight against infections and many other health issues.
The Complications of an Imbalanced Gut
The gut microbiome aids in the break down of food for nutrients, and aids in building up our immune system. It contains at least 1,000 species of good bacteria, many of which are essential for our health. Meanwhile, other bad bacteria may cause disease.
These disease-causing bacteria are known as, endotoxins, and can sometimes leak out of the gut and into the bloodstream. (1) When there is an imbalance of healthy and unhealthy microbes and endotoxins leak, it can create a metabolic dysfunction. This metabolic dysfunction could increase your chance of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It also contributes to weight gain due to the abnormal amount of cholesterol and triglycerides (fat).
When an influx of bad bacteria exists, your body enters into something called metabolic endotoxemia. This inflammation in your gut is the immune system’s natural response due to increased, circulating endotoxins and is known to affect an estimated 33% of the western population. (2) With proper diet and nutrition, you could prevent and reduce the chances of these health issues, and the other potential risks they induce.
Gut Health & Weight Management
Studies have shown that those who are overweight and obese tend to have a lack of diversity in their gut microbiome, and harbor more harmful bacteria. This can be from a multitude of reasons including chlorine intake from your water and artificial sweeteners, and even antibiotics prescribed by your doctor! It is important to keep in mind that antibiotics function by killing off ALL the bacteria in your gut--that means both bad and good bacteria. The result is imbalanced bacteria in your gut. After taking any antibiotics prescribed by your doctor, it is important to start replacing the lost, good bacteria with probiotics and fermented foods.
Recent studies indicate that the two possible bacteria that may be contributing to weight concerns are: Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes, for they each regulate the amount of fat our body absorbs. The difference between the two bacteria is simple, Firmicutes harvest energy from fat, meanwhile Bacteroidetes prevent the storage of fat. With this in mind, it has been reported that higher concentrations of Firmicutes were found in overweight and obese individuals than Bacteroidetes. (3) Thus, emphasizing the importance of well-balanced gut!
Provide Your Gut with Probiotics
Probiotics, or “friendly bacteria,” help maintain a healthy, and balanced gut flora. They promote proper digestion, keep your intestines clean, and fight against harmful pathogens. Probiotics may even help reduce chronic inflammation, and as a result, prevent weight gain and obesity, among other diseases. You can find probiotics in natural dietary supplements, or in fermented foods like yogurt. There are many different genera of probiotics, two of which are called, Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus; they each have a combination of strains.
Bifidobacterium can be found in the gastrointestinal tract as lactic acid bacteria, as well as, in fermented foods, such as raw cheese, yogurt, kombucha, and pickles. Strains of bifidobacterium aid with immunity, constipation, GI support, brain function, and Anti-aging.
Lactobacillus normally live in our digestive, urinary, and genital systems, and can also be found in fermented foods. Strains of lactobacillus aid with diarrhea, acne, GI support, Eczema, inflammation, and brain function.
All things considered, our gut is the first line of defense against weight gain and many other health conditions, so make sure to keep it healthy! If you’re searching for an all-natural probiotic, check out our ZOË NATURALS - RESTORE!
Dr. Jason Olafsson D.C.
Founder & CEO
Doctor of Chiropractic