Is plant-based eating key to vibrant gut ecosystems?

Is plant-based eating key to vibrant gut ecosystems? Business Plan Writers In Dallas Texas So far scientists have had limited understanding of actionable mechanisms that are key in the regulation and integrity of complex gut bacterial ecosystems, but as research on catalysts of a healthy gut flora is booming, the primacy of maintaining microbiome health with trophic regulators - such as a rich-in-fibre plant-based diet - and its implications for the future of medicine in a post-antibiotic era are already coming into focus.

When antibiotics were developed, no thought was placed on gut microbe differentiation. They were designed to be broad-spectrum to be used in many types of infections but not in any way to spare the good bacteria in our gut. A rather counter-intuitive strategy outside of a life or a death situation, as both by cell number and by gene number we’re more microbial than we are human.

Master Thesis Positions In Germany For many years drugs were overused without the recognition that there are costs associated with it. The first cost already descended upon us. We’re now on the verge of serious antibiotic resistance cropping up with pathogens very difficult to eradicate. The second, more insidious, is harming beneficial, or at least not harmful to the host, commensal resident microbes for 4 to 12 months after each round of antibiotics, and affecting immunity and biotransformations negatively.

The microbiota is like a rainforest. It houses an extraordinary complex and dynamic teeming ecosystem of microorganisms that are key players in major aspects of our health in metabolism, immunity as well as in disease. In spite of the fact that our gut microbes dictate so much of our biology, we now know that it’s possible for us to foster a healthy and resilient ecological consortium of commensal, symbiotic and pathogenic microorganisms living together harmoniously inside our gut. And we are just beginning to scratch the surface of how us, the hosts, can manipulate naturally the microbiome to reap immunity-boosting benefits.

Writing Service Proposal Probiotics are usually the first port of call to repopulate the gut microbial community. They can be used to good effect as place holders while the microbiome is recovering from a shot of antibiotics and over time change the entire ecosystem to be inhospitable to many existing detrimental bacteria as they pass through the gut, but there are a few caveats.

The supplement market isn’t properly regulated. There are a lot of poor products – whose content hasn’t been verified by reliable independent organisations like the US Pharmacopeial Convention – which either don’t have the viable organisms or species mentioned on their labels or in too negligeable quantity. Except Ferring Pharmaceutical’s VSL#3, that has 90 times what everything else has, with 8 species and 450 billion bacteria, many brands only cover one to five probiotic strains, a drop in the ocean for the functioning of a gut community that relies upon thousands of different species to thrive.

At any rate, it takes at least a month for good probiotics to proffer their best benefits, with a risk of dependence to then keep detrimental bacteria in check. A much faster and profitable route to determine the mix of gut bacteria is controlling the food that goes to sustain it. The capacity of different diets to create different gut microbial equilibriums is well-established in mouse models, but the parallel with human biology was unclear until recent studies found that changes in the microbiome can happen within only three or four days of a big shift in what one eats. And researchers not only observed a variation in the abundance of different kinds of bacteria, but in the kinds of genes they were expressing too.

Thanks to advances in nutrigenomics, the scientific study of the interaction of nutrition and genes with regard to the prevention and treatment of disease, we can change how genes express themselves by adapting our lifestyle and diet based on clever genetic polymorphism testing and health reports that companies like 23andMe and Promethease respectively offer. From the data, we’re learning that we can boost or down-regulate specific biologic markers, for example how our body metabolises fat, how well we inactivate carcinogens, how efficiently we convert folate from dark leafy green with a diet favourable to certain type of gut bacteria genotypes, of which fiber is the centerpiece.

The population of gut microbes is located in the colon, and the GI track at large hosts the largest number of immune cells. Unless these gut microbes receive fiber, they can’t make essential chemical compounds called short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) that are signaling molecules for the regulation of the immune system, promoting the growth of T-regulatory cells and soothing inflammation.

But why can’t other food groups feed the gut microbes you ask? For logistic and physiologic reasons. Much of the food we eat in the Western world is laden in simple refined carbohydrates, protein and fats, and all of those things get absorbed and metabolised early on in the upper part of our intestine. They don’t make it to the the end of the digestive tract where all gut microbes primarily live. Without fiber-rich foods like whole grains, fruits and vegetables – that the human genome is not very good at degrading thus making its way down to the colon so that our microbes can ferment them and produce the SCFAs – the whole gut microbial community is essentially starving.

People worry about protein deficiency when they should really focus on fiber, or the lack thereof, that sets off a whole snowball effect when gut microbes are forced to canabolise themselves. When we don’t eat enough complex carbohydrates, the bacteria eat away the gut barrier preventing infection known as mucin instead and get closer to the epithelial cells lining the gut. These cells rely on SCFAs – metabolised from fiber by the bacteria – for energy, so starving the bacteria is the equivalent of starving the epithelial cells in charge of secreting mucin, which in turn impairs its production to regenerate the part that has been disintegrated by the bacteria. All because of a low-fiber diet.

Putting an end to this vicious circle is as simple as increasing the amount of plants in the diet to an ancestral level. Hunter gatherer societies consumed 200 grams of fiber daily. Although numbers dropped to a record low of 15g a day in our modern world, having a more vegetarian-like diet is a real strength in that respect.

Help With Personal Statement For College The American Gut Project found that vegans, who eat the most fibre and vegetarians the second greatest amount, are much better off than people subscribing to a version of a Paleo diet and end up eating less than the 20 grams of fibre per day recommended by the USDA. As a rule of thumb, we should aim each week to eat 25 to 30 different plant species to get our fibre intake covered.

When it comes to dietary fibre though, there are two schools of thought: the eat-as-much-fibre-as-you-can camp and the Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) -obsessed camp. What the latter fails to understand is that SIBO comes about when one consumes only one single type of complex carbohydrates, which inevitably sustains a handful of strain-specific bacteria that are really good at metabolising or fermenting that very type of fibre, and so become very abundant at the expense of other gut microbes. This issue can be largely avoided by increasing diversity and quantity of soluble or insoluble fibre in the diet, which improves the bacterial profile.

Indeed, to carry the rainforest metaphor outlined earlier further, the microbiome is a micro-ecosystem that constantly undergo change. There is a very complex interaction between gut microbes and immune cells who are linked to each other through energy transfer and nutritional flow. In ecological micro-ecosystems, species are also not independent from each other, most form a guild or functional group that grows together and thrive together, or decline together. Similarly, different species within the gut form bacterial guilds and the members of a guild increase or decrease, correlating with changes in the microbiota.

In nature, micro-ecosystems tend to be more stable when there’s a lot of complexities of life on them. Adding new species at high number leads to an entire different chain of interactions and ecology flourishing over a certain period of time. Research suggests the same thing holds true for the microbiome. Eating various types of carbohydrates can foster a gut bacterial community that is more rich and robust. It has to do with metabolic specialization in the assembly of microbial communities.

What we’re learning is that there is a strong dependence on environmental conditions in our gut for various metabolic processes whereby different types of fibre – cellulose, Lignin, Inulin, Pectin, Hexosan, Pentosan and many more – feed different bacteria and each group of bacteria specialises at metabolising the fiber into specific and equally important chemical byproducts like SCFAs rather than all of them. So at our level, any dietary intervention should thus aim at influencing the microbiome both quantitatively and qualitatively, with fibre at the top of the food pyramid.

Camille Bienvenu
I'm a freelance digital health journalist based in London with a penchant for learning new things, a sheer appetite for the world and a voracious consumption of experience. Passionate about health risk reporting with the public interest at heart, I'm also a believer in healthy living and all things spiritual, mindful and meditative. I'd like this blog to be a utilitarian haven for free thinkers and truth seekers. So hop on if you want to think critically, use logic to get to the truth and, if like me, you're interested in taking an objective look at vegan-related topics and human health with information based in the current science.