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Recently, scientists have started to speculate that gut bacteria may play an essential role in the development of obesity, insulin resistance, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). (1)
You may not be familiar with NAFLD, but it is currently the most common liver disease worldwide, both in adults and in children, including 20% of the American population.(2)(3)
So far, instead of understanding what causes fatty liver, we only have a list of disorders that are associated with it. For example:
If you find it almost impossible to lose weight or struggle with chronic obesity, your gut bacteria could be to blame. The inner ecology of your digestive system can directly influence serious health conditions like obesity and diabetes!
As it turns out, gut bacteria can play a deciding role in whether or not an individual struggles with weight loss.
Studies have found that both obese mice and obese human beings are more likely to carry a specific type of bacteria. (4)(5) On the other hand, mice and humans that are thin and slender have an entirely different microbial community populating the gut. (6)
As scientists looked deeper into the role that bacteria play in the development of obesity, they determined that changing the inner ecology of the gut with antibiotics, prebiotics, and probiotics can directly influence the development of obesity, diabetes, and NAFLD. (7)
Other studies have found that changing the gut bacteria in mice with insulin resistance creates NAFLD. (8) Insulin resistance is often a precursor to type II diabetes.
When it comes to NAFLD, obesity, and diabetes, physicians look signs of oxidative stress and inflammation. Often, the first place that they look is the digestive system. (9)
This makes sense. The liver receives about 70% of its blood supply from the intestine. Because of this, the liver is the first line of defense against food, environmental toxins, and disease-causing bugs.
When the gut becomes permeable, or “leaky,” a lot of foreign material can make its way deeper into the body, where it doesn’t belong. (10) Oftentimes, the first stop is the liver.
One hallmark of leaky gut is the presence of bacterial endotoxin, which irritates and inflames the lining of the intestinal wall. In those who have an inflamed and irritated gut lining, we often see endotoxin and other traces of gut bacteria in the liver. (11)
Bacterial endotoxin, or lipopolysaccharide (LPS), is a component of the cell wall of some bacteria. Endotoxin is widely understood as a pro-inflammatory agent in the body. This means that wherever you find endotoxin, you will most likely find oxidative damage, inflammation, and disease. (12)(13)
Another hallmark of leaky gut is something called small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).
SIBO is exactly as it sounds. It is a situation where bacteria have grown to such proportions that they generate digestive discomfort like heartburn and, in some cases, have a hand in the development of more chronic forms of disease.
It turns out that small intestinal bacterial overgrowth occurs in a large percentage of people with chronic liver disease. (14)(15)(16)(17)
Currently, scientists are investigating which strains of bacteria do what. Once they determine which beneficial bugs are best suited for certain diseases, a probiotic drug can be developed. (18)
Until then, researchers are coming to the same conclusions over and over again: diet matters.
What we eat influences which bacteria populate the gut.
What we eat can also influence intestinal permeability. In fact, those with celiac disease have a notoriously permeable gut. They also are more likely to develop NAFLD. (19)
When we eat fermented foods and drink probiotic beverages, such as coconut water kefir, we receive a complete spectrum of good bacteria that have many health benefits. This includes helping to seal the lining of a leaky gut and combating oxidative stress.
As interest in our inner ecology grows in the medical field, researchers are finding that gut bacteria have huge therapeutic potential.
Scientists have recently discovered that gut bacteria may play a critical role in the development of:
Gut bacteria can also determine whether or not a person struggles to lose weight. Scientists have confirmed that both obese mice and humans are more likely to carry a certain type of bacteria in their digestive tracts!
On top of that, a condition called leaky gut can cause irritation and inflammation in the intestines that leads to small intestine bacterial overgrowth and the development of chronic disease.
Clearly, diet makes a big difference when it comes to balanced digestion and your overall health. What you eat can influence the bacteria that populate your gut, and it can also determine intestinal permeability.
Eating fermented foods and drinking probiotic beverages like coconut water kefir is the best way to improve your digestive health with friendly bacteria to heal a leaky gut and reduce the risk of more serious illness!
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