How intestinal dysbiosis affects you and how to prevent it
Diseases associated with an abnormal response of our immune system have increased significantly in the last 50 years. It seems that one of the main underlying causes of this increase in prevalence resides in our intestinal microbiota. Today, it is known that our microbial hosts are not simply harmless bystanders or potential invaders. Microbial colonization may not be essential for life, but it is critical for nutrition, body growth, induction and regulation of immunity, endocrine homeostasis, central nervous system maturation, and behavior. The human gastrointestinal tract is an ecological niche in which there are a series of microbial communities that have evolved together with the human being. MRI studies indicate that the large intestine of a healthy adult is home to almost one liter of microbial biomass. The human host provides it with habitat and nutrition allowing the sustainability of the microbial ecosystem and, in return, benefits from its microbial symbionts. The term microbiota refers to the collection of microbial communities that colonize a particular ecological niche, and the microbiome is the collective genome of microbial symbionts. About 90% of the human gut microbiota belong to two divisions: Bacteroidetes and Fimicutes. Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria, Fusobacteria and Verrucomicrobia complete the remaining 10% along with few species from the Arquea domain (mainly Methanobrevibacter smithii). We found differences in microbial composition between stool samples and intestinal mucosa biopsies in the same individual, and also between the different sections of the digestive tract. Each individual harbors a distinctive pattern of microbial communities and harbors unique strains not found in other individuals, but the differences between subjects are much greater than the intra-individual variations. Furthermore, longitudinal studies show that diet, drug intake, travel, or colonic transit time generate variability in the microbial composition of fecal samples from the same individual. Resilience is an important characteristic of a healthy gut microbial ecosystem and also has the ability to revert to the pre-disturbance state. On the other hand, when our intestinal microbiota is not in balance, dysbiosis occurs. Dysbiosis occurs when there is an alteration in the composition and functions of the microbiota, as a consequence of environmental factors, which are disturbing the microbial ecosystem to a degree that exceeds its capacities for resistance and resilience. Dysbiosis is a very common disorder currently in the entire population. Dysbiosis is thought to play an important role in the origin of chronic non-communicable inflammatory diseases (recurrent C. difficile diarrhea, inflammatory bowel diseases, colorectal cancer, etc.) or at least the perpetuation to chronicity of some of these conditions. The consistency of studies in this field is still poor, possibly due to the lack of standardized methodology. Furthermore, such associations do not necessarily indicate a causal role for the microbiota in the pathogenesis of the disease, since they could be a consequence of the disease itself. We found three types of intestinal dysbiosis: Intestinal dysbiosis due to a greater presence of pathogenic bacteria. Our microbiota resides together with microorganisms with pathogenic potential, but if the microbiota is in the correct balance, it can keep pathogenic microorganisms under control. On the other hand, under certain circumstances the overgrowth of these pathogenic bacteria can occur, which is when the problems arise. Intestinal dysbiosis due to loss of beneficial microorganisms. This situation could be caused by lifestyle habits and diet.
Intestinal dysbiosis due to loss of microbial diversity. The greater the diversity of microorganisms that reside in our microbiota, the better it will be, as well as our health in general. Several studies carried out in this regard conclude that greater intestinal microbial diversity translates into more benefits. Also, children with lower intestinal microbial diversity have been shown to be more susceptible to allergies and asthma. That the intestinal microbiota is altered is a problem for our health, since our immune system will be more vulnerable, our metabolic health will worsen, the intestinal barrier will be less protected and we will produce less short-chain fatty acids (they intervene in the prevention of various chronic pathologies such as colorectal cancer, metabolic syndrome and due to their anti-inflammatory activity, it seems that they exert a beneficial action in cases of inflammatory bowel diseases). In fact, intestinal microbiota dysbiosis is associated with various disorders, including diabetes, obesity, different types of cancer, allergies, metabolic syndrome, as well as inflammatory bowel disease. It has been proven that individuals suffering from these diseases tend to have intestinal dysbiosis, either due to an excessive presence of pathogenic bacteria, a lack of beneficial microorganisms or a lack of diversity. Although it is not yet clear whether these diseases themselves are the cause of intestinal dysbiosis or if the onset of dysbiosis is earlier, and is what increases the risk of the disease. What can be affirmed is that in both cases, our habits play a fundamental role both in prevention and in the course of treatment since there is ample scientific evidence that shows how diet and lifestyle habits are essential for there is a correct balance in our microbiota. Next, we are going to see what are the main causes of intestinal dysbiosis: In the misuse of antibiotics, there is not only the alteration of the intestinal microbiota but also the resistance that our bacteria generate towards them. This resistance means that pathogenic bacteria mutate in response to the use of these drugs, causing infections to be much more deadly and making them difficult to treat because antibiotics are no longer effective. Furthermore, another reason for this increase in antibiotic resistance may also be due to the use of antibiotics in livestock.
It has been shown that a high intake of animal protein in the diet, especially that which comes from red meat and processed meat, can deteriorate the state of our microbiota and increase the risk of colorectal cancer. A diet rich in red meat and processed meat exerts an inflammatory and carcinogenic action, promoting dysfunction of our intestinal barrier, DNA damage and causing a genotoxic effect. A low consumption of vegetables and fruits is not positive for our intestinal microbiota, since we will be depriving it of the benefits they provide (antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and prebiotic action). In addition, insufficient fiber intake translates into a worsening of the state of our microbiota, since we will not be obtaining the protection provided by fiber from plant-based foods against cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity. Overweight people have been shown to have altered microbiota, so maintaining a healthy weight also appears to be key to avoiding intestinal dysbiosis. In addition, it can cause an imbalance of energy homeostasis, which can lead to weight gain and obesity. The habits that we must acquire to avoid intestinal dysbiosis are: Base our diet on foods of plant and whole origin. Our diet should be made up of fruits, vegetables, legumes, natural nuts, whole grains, tubers, and seeds. These foods stand out for their antioxidant properties and their fermentable fiber with prebiotic action. Limit the consumption of protein of animal origin, the best options being small-size blue fish, lactofermented products and eggs from organic farming. As for red and processed meat, its consumption should be avoided or limited as much as possible. Consume prebiotic foods of plant and whole origin (cooked apple, potatoes, sweet potato, legumes, green banana, cooked oat flakes in the form of porridge, mushrooms, ground or soaked flax seeds, onions, artichokes, asparagus, garlic and leek). Consume fermented foods that contain live microorganisms with probiotic action (sauerkraut, miso, yogurt, goat kefir, etc.). Consume good quality fats that we can find in extra virgin olive oil consumed raw, in avocado, in walnuts and other raw nuts, in oil seeds (flax, sesame, pumpkin and sunflower). Healthy cooking, such as steaming, blanching, stir-frying, and simmering, are the best options. In this way, the phytochemicals with antioxidant action present in vegetables are better used. Avoid stress, tobacco, alcohol and sedentary lifestyle.
Our body is populated by microorganisms on its entire surface and in the cavities connected to the outside. Experimental and clinical research is showing that microbial colonizers constitute a functional and non-expendable part of the human organism. The microbial ecosystem that is housed in the gastrointestinal tract provides a “metagenome”: genes and additional functions to the genetic resources of the species, which participate in multiple physiological processes (nutrition, immunity, somatic development, etc.). The interaction of the intestinal microbiota with the immune system of the digestive mucosa plays a key role for the homeostasis of the individual with the outside world. Generating and maintaining diversity in the intestinal microbiota is the new clinical objective for health promotion and disease prevention. Therefore, a healthy diet, good habits and correct hygiene will keep our intestinal microbiota healthy and strong, which will have a positive effect on our immune response and therefore, we will have less risk of getting sick. In Epixlife you can find more recommendations on the foods that are most appropriate for optimal functioning of your body. References: https://www.conasi.eu/blog/consejos-de-salud/disbiosis-intestinal/ http://scielo.isciii.es/pdf/nh/v37nspe2/1699-5198-nh-37-spe2-00034.pdf
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