Connection to Illness
Research is now indicating that our gut bugs may be linked to ‘modern’ chronic illnesses including:
Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis – Research hasn’t yet been able to demonstrate exactly which microbial strains are causing the inflammation however specific diet recommendations and fecal microbial transfers are being investigated.
Obesity – weight gain may be associated with an increase of a class of bacteria called Firmicutes and a reduction in Bacteroidetes strains. This research has been conducted in animal models, human models and twin studies. (Mullins, 2015).
Diabetes – Early life antibiotics may be increasing the incidence and age of onset of Type 1 Diabetes. In mice models, the pancreatic and gut cells are altered after being exposed to antibiotics doses; this damage precedes the onset of diabetes. (Blaser, 2014).
Allergies, asthma, eczema, hay-fever – The theory goes that because the gut microbes play a role in training the immune system, an imbalance in gut health early on in life may have a role to play in an ‘unbalanced’ immune system that incorrectly targets itself. (Finlay & Arrieta, 2016).
Psychological Disorders – A relatively new theory postulates that major depression could be linked to “inflammation”. (Raison et al, 2011). The gut microbiota is significant, it produces molecules like butyrate that protect gut cells and influences the permeability of the gut wall. The integrity of the gut barrier is important as it limits toxic molecules like bacterial Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) from passing through a compromised gut wall. These molecules trigger an inflammatory cascade that interferes with a vast array of body processes including the serotonin and dopamine systems which are integral to mood stability.