Recent research on the link between gut health and obesity shows that gut bacteria significantly affect how obesity and other metabolic diseases get worse.
Unhealthy gut bacteria cause an inflammatory process contributing to diseases like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. These gut bacteria directly affect obesity and type 2 diabetes (T2D), according to studies on both humans and animals.
A brief explanation of the relationship between a healthy gut and a healthy body is needed to understand the importance of gut health for weight loss.
When the gut microbes are not working well (dysbiosis), they produce toxins and inflammatory chemicals that damage the lining of the intestines. This damage causes a leaky gut that contributes significantly to the development of obesity, metabolic syndrome, and fatty liver disease.
Healthy gut bacteria make short-chain fatty acids. Short-chain fatty acids may have a significant impact on both health and sickness. They might lower the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and other inflammatory conditions. Short-chain fatty acids are made when bacteria in the gut break down fiber like cellulose, pectin, gums, beta-glucan, and lignin.
A better understanding of this process provides new insight into metabolic disorders and paves the way for new therapeutic options.
Factors such as where you were born, your dietary practices, whether or not you take antibiotics, and your lifestyle choices, contribute to our quite varied gut bacteria. A change in any of these could lead to dysbiosis.
Dysbiosis and a poor diet are the leading causes of fatty liver disease, which is frequently present in overweight people. Fatty liver disease damages, scars, and inflames the liver. Better ways to understand how dysbiosis, diet, and environmental factors interact are helping us find better ways to treat fatty liver disease and other metabolic diseases.
Hormonal Changes and Gut Health
Hormonal changes are a normal part of aging and menopause. Hormonal changes can cause hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, mood changes, insomnia, and changes in sexual desire.
Because of hormonal changes and digestive problems that come with age, gut health is essential for weight loss as we get older.
Hormonal changes in menopause also affect gut health. As estrogen and progesterone levels decrease during menopause, this can cause weight gain, hot flashes, digestive problems, low energy, and depression.
Age-Related Digestive Issues
The National Institutes of Health says 60 million to 70 million Americans have digestive diseases. These diseases include gallstones, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis. Research shows that gut health is linked to many of these diseases.
Digestive problems are common as we get older. Aging is the gradual breakdown of a person’s body, which makes them less able to function and more likely to malfunction.
Gut health is essential for overall health because it affects how well the nervous, immune, mental, and digestive systems work.
To improve gut health, you must eat various fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains, prebiotic and probiotic foods, and limit antibiotics. Writing down what you eat in a food journal and making necessary changes to improve digestive health are vital to maintaining a healthy weight.
Gut Health and Weight Loss
A healthy weight is linked to balanced and healthy gut bacteria. Beneficial gut bacteria are essential to good digestion and good health. They break down complex carbohydrates, proteins, and, to a lesser extent, fats that reach the lower gastrointestinal tract. This process makes a lot of microbial metabolites, which act locally and systemically once they get into the bloodstream.
The effects of these biochemicals on human health are complicated because these bacterially produced chemicals can be both helpful and harmful to the body. These chemicals include:
- Short-chain fatty acids and alcohols.
- Ammonia, branched-chain fatty acids, amines, sulfur compounds, phenols, and indoles (derived from amino acids).
- Glycerol and choline derivatives (obtained from the breakdown of lipids).
The beneficial contribution of bacteria to a healthy body is to support metabolism and break down food into nutrients the body can use. However, other harmful chemicals the bacteria produce can also damage the immune system by changing how body cells work and their genes are expressed.
A healthy, balanced gut flora can help maintain healthy body weight, but an imbalance can lead to weight gain.
Bacteria can help manage blood glucose and lipids; a specific bacteria called Christensenella minute has been shown to reduce weight gain in mouse studies. It is a promising candidate for obesity prevention as it supports a healthy microbiome.
Probiotics and prebiotics
Probiotics are live, beneficial bacteria that naturally exist in your body. Two types of bacteria live in your body: good bacteria and bad bacteria.
Probiotics are helpful bacteria that help keep your body healthy and functioning properly.
These good bacteria benefit you in various ways, including fighting off harmful bacteria when you have an abundance of them and making you feel better. Good dietary sources of probiotics include the following:
- Bread made with sourdough starter
- Cottage cheese.
- Pickles that have been fermented.
- Soup with miso.
Prebiotics are oligosaccharide-based food components that the host cannot break down, but that benefit the host’s health. Prebiotics are specialized plant fibers. They act like fertilizers that stimulate the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut.
Fruits and vegetables, especially those with complex carbohydrates like fiber and resistant starch, are rich in prebiotics. Since your body cannot digest them, they pass through your digestive system as food for bacteria and other germs.
Different species of microbes live in the environment inside the large intestine. This environment is called gut flora, and it is made up of both good and bad bacteria. Our gut flora is complex and needs good nutrition to stay healthy. Still, chronic imbalances can lead to dysbiosis and weight gain.
A healthy gut may help protect against metabolic diseases and provide a way to treat them.
Microbes in the gut that are good for you break down complex carbohydrates and make short-chain fatty acids, vitamins, and other metabolites, which can change how much food you eat and how your body uses the food you eat.
Diet alone has the most potent and direct effects on gut microbial function. Sugar or artificial sweeteners can cause gut dysbiosis, affecting the brain and causing behavioral changes. Aspartame increases the number of bacterial strains linked to metabolic diseases, which can increase blood glucose levels.
Taking probiotic supplements and eating fermented foods can boost gut health. Prebiotics may help probiotics become more tolerant to environmental conditions.
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