Examining the bacteria of the digestive tract may one day be a way your doctor diagnoses a disease earlier and more accurately than is possible today. Turns out people with some diseases seem to have a very different mix of bacteria in their intestines compared to healthier people. The relatively new area of microbiome research examines if certain bacteria might cause a disease, or if disease might breed particular types of organisms… it may even be a different of relationship altogether. One thing science does know is that for every body cell, there are an estimated 10 microbial cells – an impressive number that suggests these tiny organisms do have an impact on our health.
Today science is uncovering links between your natural bacterial makeup and the presence of diseases all through the body, not just of the digestive tract. Some of the associations between gut bacteria and illness include conditions like colon cancer, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, diabetes and even obesity. We also know that some bacteria can strengthen the immune system. Others provoke the inflammation that’s a feature of autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and many others.
One recent study finds that those who had untreated rheumatoid arthritis also had more of a certain kind of inflammatory bacteria in their intestines, less of a beneficial bacteria than healthy subjects. What’s more, science has also found a connection between the bacteria that live in your intestines and mental conditions like depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, ADD, autism and Alzheimer’s disease, as well as others. Part of the reason for this is that intestinal bacteria have the ability to create small molecules (metabolites) that are able to reach the brain and impact the way it works.
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Why You Should Always Listen To Your Gut… Continued…
As the numbers of conditions that may be linked to the microorganisms in your digestive tract keeps growing, the natural question is – can you change your digestive bacteria and cure a disease? A long-term dietary change (healthier and varied foods) could reshape the balance of organisms in your digestive tract to create a healthier profile. This would help with better immune function, less inflammation and potentially bring you to a state of overall better health.
What’s more, understanding more about the microbiome (your own unique collection of microbes) that you took in part from your mother at birth, and have determined in part by your lifestyle could lead to advances in treatments for many conditions. Currently, doctors do some of this when they perform fecal transplants on those who have hard to treat c. difficult infections, using healthy feces to help the sick person return to a more healthy balance of bacteria. This is one example of how critical bacteria can be to overall health.
It may be that one day; analysis of your Individual microbiome will be as accessible and easy as routine blood work is today. Customized probiotics could be given that would impact the microbes that are causing the trouble, so a patient would be given a specific organism to help prevent diabetes or becoming obese.
To your good health,