Thursday, March 12, 2015

Probiotics, gut bacteria and weight

(My first post filled with knowledge! Haha enjoy! What topics should I cover in the future? Full disclosure: I am a student doing my Masters in Nutrition, and a certified trainer working on more education...not an expert yet!)

Recent studies have shown that certain gut bacteria are associated with being slim, while a lack of certain gut bacteria appears to be directly related to being overweight or obese. 

How can some tiny microbes be controlling so much and what can we do to help them work for us?

Certain bacteria can reduce the stomachs production of ghrelin - that's the hormone that says "hey, you're hungry!"  Typically when we eat, our ghrelin levels go down, and we know to stop eating but if gut bacteria is out of balance (in this particular case, if we don't have enough heliocobacter pyori - H. Pylori), the ghrelin production doesn't stop and we don't get that stop eating signal. Too much H. Pylori isn't good enough but an increase in antibiotic prescribing has made H. Pylori infections must less common...but those same antibiotics have furthered contributed to our weight problem. 

We're getting hit with antibiotics everywhere, from doctors to factory farmed meat and the effect on our gut bacteria is significant. 

So if we have so many hits against us, how can we beat this bacteria influenced weight gain? 

Simple diet changes help a lot! Eating high fiber foods such as fruits, veggies and grains helps provide prebiotics, which help nourish healthy microbes. Reducing sugar intake also helps as healthy gut bacteria thrive on complex carbs while the less healthy types, Luke the types that cause yeast infections, bloating and constipation, love sugar! Adding probiotic rich foods like yogurt, fermented foods and even supplementing with probiotic supplements will help plant the seeds for healthy gut microbe levels. Lastly, get moving! Exercisers with healthy BMIs have been shown to have more diverse gut microbes than sedentary folks and although it's not clear if that's a chicken or egg scenario (aka which came first, the healthy BMI or the diverse microbes), it's always good to sweat! 

Give yourself the best chance at keeping a fit, healthy body keeping your gut health in check! 

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