The idea of probiotics emerged at а certain point in the last century, with the term probiotic coined to describe the substances secreted by one organism that promoted the growth and development of another. Sales of probiotic products increased rapidly with more than 80% just for the period between 2010 and 2012! Probiotics have been found to neutralize some of the harmful effects, associated with disrupted gut health and can normalize your immune system functioning and improve your overall health.
But how does your gut health relate to your overall well-being and physiology?
A recent study discovered a direct link between eating junk food and the decrease in overall health. As it turns out, eating lots of MacDonald’s burgers could impact your immune system functioning and general well-being by disrupting the balance of bacteria inside of your gut. The study, conducted by Dr. Tim Spector, revealed that unhealthy fried food killed almost a third of the gut microbiome, targeting some bacteria more than others. This could very much explain why eating junk food causes not only obesity and weight problems, but often results in health conditions, such as diabetes or irritable bowel syndrome.
The reason for this is that your gut health is directly responsible for how well the nutrients you consume will be absorbed, and whether toxins, allergens and microbes are kept out of your organism. Scientists have discovered that there are almost 3 pounds of bacteria, residing in your gut and most of them are responsible for regulating hormones, digesting your food, producing vitamins and excreting the toxins. Excess or lack of one species can result in imbalance and subsequently lead to a variety of health problems.
Recent studies show that a large number of diseases and illnesses can be tracked to gut imbalance. Your entire immune system is protected from the harmful environment in your gut by a single-cell layer. If this barrier is damaged, the harmful bacteria in your gut can infect your immune system and damage its functioning, producing inflammation in different parts of your body. The gut also serves as your secondary brain system - wired directly to the brain, it sends messages that regulate and maintain the proper functioning of your body.
In fact, the gastrointestinal tract, or your gut, is the primary site of interaction between the host immune system and any toxins or microorganisms, coming from the outside. A study by Round and colleagues in 2009 concluded that disturbances in the bacterial microbiota resulted in problems of the immune system, which subsequently caused health disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease. The disturbances in the immune system has also been extensively linked to non-infectious human diseases such as allergies, cancer and autoimmune conditions.
This suggests that Hippocrates was right when he said “All disease starts in the gut”. It seems that disturbances in the fragile balance of your gut microbiome can result in serious health problems and that perhaps we need to start supporting our bugs in order to prevent and heal disease.