How To Improve Gut Flora?
Do you feel that more and more foods make you feel gassy and sick? Your vitality is no longer the same? Have you gained weight and you don’t know why? This could be an alarm signal from your intestinal bacteria, we have to pay attention to them!
Our well-being could be intimately related to the health of our intestinal flora, which could be a protective factor for our immune system, our metabolism, and even our brain.
If you want to know what habits could be affecting your inner ecosystem and how to avoid them, take a look at this article!
Gut Flora: The Most Important
- Gut bacteria are essential to preserving our health. They are responsible for producing vitamin B and K, protecting our gut from pathogens, and boosting the immune system.
- Many factors such as inappropriate diets, the use of antibiotics, or unhealthy lifestyles can decrease the population of beneficial bacteria.
- Probiotics and prebiotics could repopulate the healthy intestinal flora. However, there are some precautions to apply to these products.
Table of Contents: Open me
- What You Should Know About Damage To The Intestinal Flora
- Let’s Talk About Intestinal Dysbiosis
- Are There “Good” And “Bad” Gut Bacteria?
- What Could Damage The Intestinal Flora?
- What Are The Consequences of Damage to the Gut Flora?
- What Are The Most Common Symptoms Of Intestinal Flora Damage?
- The 3 Secrets You Need To Know To Take Care Of Your Intestinal Flora
- Could Red Wine Improve Gut Flora?
- Products to Improve Gut Flora
- Forms of Presentation: Pros and Cons
- Recommended Doses Of Probiotics And Prebiotics
- Food Sensitivities And Special Diets
- How To Optimize Your Gut And Brain Bacteria? – Video
- How To Restore Healthy Gut Flora? – FAQ
What You Should Know About Damage To The Intestinal Flora
The gut flora (also known as the microbiota) is the community composed of bacteria, viruses, and fungi that populate our digestive tract.
The microbiota lives with us in a relationship called mutualism, where we benefit from its presence (it protects us from pathogenic microorganisms, boosts the immune system, and helps in the production of vitamin B and K) while we give it a home and food.
This microbiota is made up of approximately 100 billion microorganisms of 400 different species (mostly bacteria) and in certain situations, it cannot survive properly, which could be the beginning of several diseases, are you curious? Let’s go on!
Let’s Talk About Intestinal Dysbiosis
Damage to our intestinal flora happens when our beneficial bacteria cannot live normally in our intestine, generating a condition called “intestinal dysbiosis”.
Intestinal dysbiosis, also known as dysbacteriosis, is the alteration of the balance of our normal microbiota. This situation may be due to alterations in the quality and distribution of our bacteria as a consequence of unfavorable changes in the environment where they live, which could result in an alteration of our intestinal barrier and even in the colonization of pathogenic bacteria.
Are There “Good” And “Bad” Gut Bacteria?
Gut bacteria do not always play a beneficial role in our health. Researchers have analyzed the bacterial composition in healthy individuals, finding a high prevalence of species such as Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium spp., and Bacteroides.
In certain diseases, such as obesity or gastrointestinal problems, a decrease in the aforementioned bacterial populations has been found, with an increase in Firmicutes and Clostridia spp. respectively.
What Could Damage The Intestinal Flora?
As we have explained above, our gut bacteria make a home in our digestive system.
When their environment is not adequate, they can die or be replaced by other microorganisms that could be detrimental to our health. There are several causes of this condition, the most important of which are the following:
- Consumption of antibiotics: antibiotics are necessary for the treatment of various infections, but their indiscriminate use can damage our intestinal microbiota, bringing short and long-term consequences.
- Inadequate diet: when analyzing the intestinal microbiota in individuals who consumed diets rich in animal proteins, saturated fats, and sugars, a decrease in bacterial diversity and an increase in pathogens were found.
- Chronic consumption of alcoholic beverages: some studies suggest the appearance of proinflammatory bacteria after chronic alcohol consumption, is related to gastrointestinal and immune alterations.
- Smoking: in addition to affecting our lungs, tobacco smoke could be capable of damaging the composition of our intestinal microbiota, decreasing populations of beneficial bacteria for health (Bacteroides).
Other entities such as intestinal pathologies, inflammatory diseases, stress, and malnutrition could be the cause or consequence of intestinal dysbiosis.
What Are The Consequences of Damage to the Gut Flora?
Since intestinal bacteria are powerful allies for our health, losing them has consequences on our general well-being. The most frequent alterations are the following:
- Alterations in the immune system: damage to our intestinal bacteria could be related to the incidence of immune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, type I diabetes, allergies, and asthma, in addition to the invasion of pathogenic microorganisms.
- Obesity: some studies have suggested a link between damage to the gut microbiota and the development of obesity. It was found that obese individuals have a decrease in beneficial bacteria (Bacteroides) and an increase in pathogenic bacteria (Firmicutes), a situation that is reversed when losing the extra weight.
- Allergic reactions: the incidence of allergic diseases has increased in the last 50 years, especially in developed countries. This could manifest itself in food allergies or intolerances, asthma, or respiratory allergies. These conditions could be closely related to the change in our diet and its impact on our gut bacteria.
- Stress and anxiety: it is said that our brain and gut communicate and influence each other. An important relationship has been found between the consumption of unhealthy diets with the alteration of our microbiota and the development of stress disorders such as anxiety.
What Are The Most Common Symptoms Of Intestinal Flora Damage?
The loss of beneficial intestinal bacteria can give us a series of signs and symptoms that serve as a warning, among these the following:
- Abdominal bloating
- Nausea and vomiting
- Stomach pain
- Mood disturbances
Although these symptoms may be related to many other diseases, they are common to intestinal dysbiosis. If these symptoms persist over time or prevent you from performing your daily tasks, you should consult your doctor!
The 3 Secrets You Need To Know To Take Care Of Your Intestinal Flora
In addition to leading a healthy lifestyle, exercising regularly, and drinking enough water, there are 3 secrets you should not forget to give your little guests the necessary tools to keep you healthy:
- Consume fermentable fiber: not all the fibers we consume are equally beneficial. Fermentable fibers are those that intestinal bacteria can use as food. These are found in vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and nuts. It is recommended to consume between 25 and 35 grams of fiber per day. If you want to increase your consumption, you should do it gradually to avoid gastrointestinal discomfort.
- Relax: the production of stress hormones could have a detrimental effect on our intestinal bacteria. Try practicing a relaxation technique such as meditation.
- Avoid emulsifiers: these additives are added to foods to improve their texture and extend their shelf life. On the other hand, they could alter the composition of the intestinal microbiota and induce inflammation. Research conducted at Bar-Ilan University in Israel identified a change in the intestinal microbiota of mice after administering polysorbate 80 and carboxymethylcellulose (common emulsifiers on the market).
Could Red Wine Improve Gut Flora?
Although chronic consumption of alcoholic beverages is linked to a decrease in the diversity of our gut bacteria, there is some research that is giving us a small exception.
Red wine is known to have polyphenols (chemicals found in grapes). These compounds function as antioxidants and may serve as prebiotics (food for the gut microbiota).
Remember the recommendations for responsible red wine consumption:
- A glass of wine contains, approximately, 150 ml.
- Men should not consume more than 400 ml of red wine per day.
- Women should not consume more than 300 ml of red wine per day.
Do not forget to follow your doctor’s recommendations regarding the consumption of any alcoholic beverage. Not all of us metabolize these substances in the same way, and some conditions may completely contraindicate the use of alcohol.
Products to Improve Gut Flora
The products you can get on the online market aimed at preserving your intestinal health can come in many forms and combinations. If you want to know which of these best suits you, read on!
- Forms of presentation: pros and cons
- Recommended doses of probiotics and prebiotics
- Food sensitivities and special diets
Forms of Presentation: Pros and Cons
If you are looking for a product to improve the health of your gut microbiota, you can get them in many forms such as probiotics, prebiotics, and even superfoods. Each form of presentation has its own benefits and also some disadvantages:
|Most Common Presentations||Pros||Cons|
|- More economical.|
- Established dosage of components.
|May contain ingredients that cause intolerance in certain individuals.|
|- Smoothies and juices can be combined.|
- They have higher doses of fiber.
|- More expensive.
- Difficult to regulate doses.
- More unstable.
|- Pleasant flavors.|
- Potential benefits on intestinal health and general wellness.
|- Some components may interact unfavorably with drugs (turmeric and black pepper).
- More expensive.
Recommended Doses Of Probiotics And Prebiotics
In addition to looking for products that are properly preserved, it is important to consider the following doses to obtain better results:
- Probiotics: it is recommended to look for products that contain between one hundred and one billion CFU (Colony Forming Units).
- Prebiotics: it is recommended to consume 10 to 12 grams per day. If you experience gastrointestinal discomfort after consumption, stop taking the medication and consult your doctor.
Food Sensitivities And Special Diets
If you suffer from any food sensitivities or exclude certain foods from your diet for personal, ethical, or religious reasons, it is important to carefully read the ingredients of the products you are going to consume.
It is mandatory to indicate if the supplements contain gluten, animal products, lactose, or nuts. Consult your pharmacist or doctor before starting any treatment.
Not everyone can consume probiotics or food supplements intended to improve our intestinal microbiota. These products should be used under strict medical indications by the following populations:
- Immunocompromised (people with lupus, HIV, or undergoing oncology treatments).
- Individuals who have received organ transplants.
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women.
- Children and adolescents.
The “ecosystem” of our digestive system is fundamental for the maintenance of our health. Loss of intestinal bacteria and colonization by pathogens can give us gastrointestinal symptoms (diarrhea, constipation, bloating) and also alter other organs and systems.
Protecting these allies of our health should be one of our main objectives in our list of healthy habits. One of the best-known ways to support the microbiota is to provide beneficial cultures (probiotics) and also to provide a portion of food that benefits them (prebiotics). Don’t forget to consult your doctor before consuming any supplement or medication.
How To Optimize Your Gut And Brain Bacteria? - Video
How To Restore Healthy Gut Flora? - FAQ
❓ How to improve intestinal bacteria?
- Eat small meals several times a day.
- Increase water consumption.
- Avoid consuming foods with lactose and fermentable carbohydrates.
- Increase the consumption of fruits and fiber.
- Decrease consumption of fatty foods.
- Take vitamin supplements.
❓ How do I know if I have bacteria in my intestine?
Signs and symptoms of bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine often include:
- Loss of appetite.
- Abdominal pain.
- The uncomfortable feeling of fullness after eating.
- Unintentional weight loss.
❓ How long does it take for the intestinal flora to recover?
The gut flora takes about four weeks to recover from the sweep of antibiotics, depending on the case, but it has been observed that some bacterial populations do not recover after six months, and according to other studies, even after a year.