We all know that gut health is extremely important in the analysis of chronic disease and related symptoms. It plays an important role in the effective functioning of the body, and can cause major issues if dysbiosis occurs. An unbalanced microbiome can be caused by a number of things such as lifestyle habits including smoking, poor diet, lack of exercise, stress, ageing, etc. It has also been linked to a number of health issues such as Obesity, Inflammatory bowel disease, Cancer and Autism.
The role of Gut Bacteria
Gut bacteria play an important role in ensuring the effective functioning of the body. The gut is responsible for a number of bodily functions such as the synthesis of vitamin K, supplying vital nutrients, digestion of cellulose, promoting angiogenesis, etc. The gut also hosts a number of neurotransmitters that are connected to the gut-brain axis, and can affect mental and cognitive function. Thus, it is extremely important to analyse gut health when investigating a series of symptoms and chronic issues.
Gut Dysbiosis and Disease
Gut bacteria can benefit the host in many ways. Some of the functions gut bacteria play in the microbiome are regulating gut motility, producing vitamins, transforming bile acid and steroids, metabolising xenobiotic substances, absorbing minerals, and activating and destroying toxins, genotoxins, and mutagens. By balancing the gut, the body is able to prevent the onset of chronic disease and improve the immune response.
This being said, when the microbiome is out of balance, there can be major consequences for the host. The gut bacteria can become potentially harmful when there are changes in their composition. The gut can undergo such changes when exposed to antibiotics, stress, ageing, poor dietary habits, etc. Our lifestyle has a direct influence on the composition of our gut bacteria. The consequences of gut dysbiosis lead to chronic disease and harmful symptoms.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
Inflammatory Bowel Disease is a name given to two conditions; Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. These two diseases are characterised by chronic inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract, and if prolonged, can lead to severe GI tract damage. Although the causes of IBD are not fully known yet, the imbalance of gut bacteria can aggravate and worsen symptoms.
Ulcerative Colitis is thought to be caused by immune dysfunction. When the immune response is prolonged in fighting off bad bacteria and viruses, inflammation is developed and can lead to the onset of IBD. UC has also been seen to be hereditary, and risk is increased when the disease is present in parents, grandparents, or children.
A study conducted on mice linked the decreased diversity and change in composition of the gut bacteria with obesity. The ratio of Firmicutes to Bacteroides has been found to be related to body weight. In obese people, this ratio seems to be higher. Obesity can also be promoted through chronic inflammatory status. Gut bacteria may affect obesity through regulation of the microbiota-brain-gut axis by its metabolites.
Gut dysbiosis has been linked to a number of chronic health issues. Although some are not directly caused by an unbalanced gut microbiome, symptoms can be aggravated by this imbalance. It is important for us to regularly check the status of our gut health, and ensure proper lifestyle and dietary maintenance to avoid the onset of disease. Integrative health specialists are now on the frontline of disease prevention and treatment protocols. The growing number of studies and clinical trials are aiding health specialists in their journey toward providing better public and individual health care.
How do I Become a Functional Medicine Practitioner to learn more about The Microbiome, Gut Health and Disease?
The Institute of Integrative Medicine is a global leader in the field of Integrative Medicine Education. Integrative medicine aims to be at the forefront of modern technology and new discoveries. Gut diseases are incredibly common. Managing gut health can prevent onset of disease and alleviate disease symptoms. We offer certified online courses helping you to take charge of your practice and improve the quality of life for your patients. Find out more about the courses we offer today!