(NaturalHealth365) There is a secret world of 100 trillion bacteria in your gut, hard at work dealing with toxins and protecting your health. In fact, scientists estimate that as much as 70 percent of your immune system’s effectiveness can be traced back to activities of gut flora.
Maintaining the right proportions of beneficial intestinal bacteria populations can give a major boost to your immunity and well-being. Unfortunately, researchers believe intestinal microbe populations are losing their diversity – which, at the same time, increases our risk of chronic disease.
Intestinal problems set the stage for serious health problems
Researchers believe that disrupting the optimal balance of good and bad gut bacteria is a likely factor in development of a number of chronic conditions. Certain conditions, including obesity, autoimmune disorders, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, and other ailments, may actually be traced to disturbance of healthy intestinal microbe populations.
If you find it surprising that such miniscule life forms can have such a huge impact on your health, consider that the bacteria living in your gut outnumber your body’s cells about 10 to 1. While half of the solid waste leaving your body is made up of these microbes, the bacteria replenish themselves continually.
The intestinal tract contains more chemical detecting and signaling molecules than any other area of your body. Intestinal bacteria produce proteins that impact those chemical detectors.
When an imbalance in the ratio of good-to-bad bacteria develops over time, it triggers the chemical detectors in negative ways. The result is an increased risk for development of a number of diseases throughout the body, not just in the gut.
The use of antibiotics, excessive use of antibacterial products, a diet rich in processed foods, obesity and certain modern medical treatments – even the aging process – are all factors that can lead to an imbalance in gut flora.
The good news: Probiotics can restore our health
Changes in gut flora can have far-reaching implications for your body’s reaction to toxins, your metabolic state and your degree of insulin-resistance, among other areas. The good news is that bacterial balance can be restored by ingesting beneficial live bacteria known as probiotics, effective in rebalancing intestinal flora.
Probiotics, which get their name from the words pro and biota meaning “for life,” have long been consumed by populations in Northern Europe. But now these probiotic supplements are growing in popularity in other parts of the world as well.
In fact, probiotics work in a number of ways to safeguard your health and reduce the effects of aging. Here are just five of the many ways probiotic supplements can impact health:
1. Reducing the risk of cancer, especially in the colon. Research shows that the use of probiotic supplements, specifically Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium longum, can significantly lower the DNA damage that can prompt malignant cell development. Probiotics are also known to stimulate the immune system’s ability to ward off cancer, while spurring natural antioxidant and detoxification enzymes into action.
2. Improving diabetes and related disorders. Diabetes clinical trials have revealed that both Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria probiotics lessen insulin resistance, resulting in significant reductions in blood sugar. Findings were further supported by a study published in Nutrition journal involving patients with type-2 diabetes who experienced significant improvements in blood sugar control following six weeks of supplementing diets with probiotic yogurt.
3. Combating obesity. Research has found a link between obesity and the overuse of antibiotics. Studies have shown the use of probiotic supplements lead to a marked reduction in both body weight and body mass index (BMI). Other studies have found probiotics also diminish nonalcoholic fatty liver disease linked to a high-fat diet and obesity.
4. Treating diarrhea and promoting intestinal health. Despite their broad range of health benefits, probiotic supplements are most commonly associated with improvements in intestinal. Additionally, probiotics promote the function of the intestinal inner lining, enhancing its ability to act as a barrier to the entry of potentially dangerous organisms and chemicals into the bloodstream. Probiotic supplements have helped improve symptoms of patients with conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and ulcerative colitis.
5. Improving the immune system. The intestinal immune system includes more antibody cells than the rest of the body put together. More than 70 percent of the human immune system gets its start in the gut.
Bottom line: As important as probiotic supplements can be to restoring the proper balance of gut flora, it is vitally important that they reach your intestines to be effective. Choose a probiotic supplement that can weather the harsh, acidic environment of the stomach for best results.
Editor’s note: To learn more about how to improve your gut health … take a look at “6 probiotic foods to improve digestion and immunity” plus the NaturalHealth365 Store offers a high-quality probiotic supplement for adults and kids.
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