WHAT IS GUT HEALTH? AND WHY DOES IT MATTER?
Approximately 100 trillion bacteria, both good and bad, reside in your intestines and stomach. Collectively, this community is referred to as the microbiome, or less formally, the gut. The bacteria in your gut consists of roughly 1,000 species and 5,000 different strains.
The microbiome plays a key part in the digestive system, but this role is only the foundation of what this ecosystem of microbes in our bodies can do. Researchers have found connections from the good and bad gut bacteria to your body's functions that go far beyond digestion, like behavior or mood.
Why Does My Gut Bacteria Matter?
Although science has not indicated which bacterial strains carry the most importance to your overall health, your microbiome as a whole plays a vital role in:
- Metabolizing nutrients from supplements and foods
- Vitamin Production
- Defense against intestinal infections
- Prevention of chronic illness
- Treating diseases
- Weight management
- Immune function
- Emotional health
Until relatively recently, science underappreciated the role of the gut in how it affects these bodily functions, but research is finally discovering that the gut biome could be key in preventing and even treating certain diseases.
For example, researchers at Oregon State University have pinpointed organisms in the gut microbiome that impact the imbalance of the human gut microbiome, also referred to as dysbiosis. The scientists identified four bacterial species– Lactobacillus johnsonsii, Lactobacillus gasseri, Romboutsia ilealis, and Ruminococcus gnavus.
The microbes labeled Lactobacillus are considered potential 'improvers' to glucose metabolism, the other two microbes are bacteria with the potential to reduce your health. According to researchers, these microbes and their interactions play a key role in type 2 diabetes.