is active in the digestion of our food and hence nutrition, it also influences
our immune system via the production of a host of different metabolites which
have an enormous influence, generally vital and positive, on our health. However,
when our microbiome is in Dysbiosis (microbial imbalance due to the reduction
in presence of beneficial bacteria being outcompeted by non-benefical or even
pathogenic bacteria) it can lead to complications and chronic diseases which
can lead to serious conditions such as diabetes or heart and liver problems!
Digestion and Nutrition
This is an
area that is already well studied, and we know that without our gut microbes we
cannot digest complex polysaccharides like carbohydrates and proteins in meat
and vegetables. The short chain fatty acids which include acetate, propionate, and butyrate, produced by bacteria in
the gut during fermentation of insoluble fibre, have been linked to health
promoting effects, including a reduced risk of inflammatory diseases, diabetes,
and cardiovascular disease.
Diabetes, allergies, Depression, IBS, certain cancers and also skin disease (Atopic dermatitis and Psoriasis) have all been shown to be linked to the presence of certain pathogens brought about by microbial dysbiosis. The gut is home to most of our immune cells and as such there is continuous communication between them and your microbiome. If these lines of communication are broken the door opens for pathogens that will benefit and disrupt. This very same imbalance can often invoke inflammation which exposes the intestinal wall to increased permeability also known as “leaky gut” which is also associated with Crohns and Celiac disease!
Gut brain Axis
“The second brain” is always an interesting name for the gut and probably unrealistic in truth however what actually exists is a direct link between the brain and the gut via the vagus nerve, so we could certainly say the gut microbiome and the brain are hard-wired to each other. What actually happens is that microbes produce neurotransmitters that communicate with the brain such as GABA(which controls neuronal excitability) and serotonin (which produces feelings of well being and happiness). Mood disorders, Depression, Parkinsons disease and autism have all been linked via mouse studies to show influence from gut microbes.
Here’s a non exhaustive list of disease linked to the gut microbiome:
- CELIAC DISEASE
- SYSTEMIC LUPUS ERYTHEMATOSUS
- TYPE 1 DIABETES
- RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS
- TYPE 2 DIABETES
- COLORECTAL CANCER
- CHRONIC KIDNEY DISEASE
- CHILDHOOD ALLERGIC ASTHMA
- ATOPIC DERMATITIS
- NETHERTONS DISEASE