Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Thick and Thin Bacteria

The most important biomass on the planet for us is our individual intestinal population of bacteria. It influences many physiologic, immunologic and nutritional processes, including how fat we are.

The stomach and early small intestine with acid conditions and rapid flow contains only 100 bacteria per gram (20 drops) of content. Immediately before the large intestine, there are 300 and in the large intestine where the bacteria multiply and ferment, there are over 1,000 bacteria per gram. These intestinal bacteria evolved independently from us. They perform functions such as the breakdown of indigestible sugars and production of fats. When these bacteria are not functioning at their best it can contribute to obesity, insulin resistance and even diabetes!

The intestinal flora is a 12 lb. adaptable metabolic organ. Many diseases are caused by a disordered state of our microbiological ecology. The term for this is Dysbiosis. Our gut flora is more than just friendly and hostile bacteria: it’s a changing population of living organisms that can help or harm. Not only do they use our foodstuff for their own sustenance, but produce messengers that govern much of our body’s functions. Inflammatory bowel disease, autoimmune disorders, atopic dermatitis, food allergies, unexplained fatigue, mental/emotional disorders, arthritis, breast and colon cancer, and malnutrition are caused by Dysbiosis. One of the main causes of Dysbiosis is gluten, when eaten by the 30% of us who are intolerant. We, then, develop leaky guts and a variety of disorders including acne, fibromyalgia, (including body myopathy), migraine, celiac coronary artery disease, seizures, autism, ADHD, Alzheimers, multiple sclerosis, and peripheral neuropathy, to name a few.

Dr. P. J. Tutbaugh (Nature,12/21/06) reviewed the science of germs and obesity. Various classes of bacteria metabolize large molecular sugars (polysaccharides) into simple sugars and short chain fatty acids. These are easily absorbed and go directly to the liver where they are converted to the storage form of fat. Moreover, Firmicutes secrete a chemical called lipoprotein lipase activator that helps the fat cell to become fatter with these newly produced fats.
Contrarily, another group of bacteria (Bifido) is a poor producer of these fat makers. In ancient times with famines, these floral reverse ratios were life savers, but in modern times, with too much food and too little activity, it is a killer. Therefore, a high B/F ratio causes weight loss and a low ratio, weight gain.

In both mice and men, natural, healthy methods (pre and probiotics) alter our microbes for weight without changing diet or exercising. Folks who are put on a low carb and/or low fat diet and avoid Gluten successfully lose weight and increase their B/F ratio. Thin people have a higher B/F ratio than the obese.

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