Thursday, September 27, 2012

Poor Gut Health Causes Diabetes

Many of us aren't drinking enough water or eating the proper diet that supports proper gut health and as a result our body's normal balance is being thrown off course. This abnormal bacteria balance is predisposing our bodies to all different sorts of health conditions and ability to cope with the changes in our natural environment. Keep reading to hear more about how to keep you and your family's gut health in the green and  some useful tips on how to keep it balanced properly.

Your gut bacteria levels should contain high levels of a number of different lactobacillus and other normal species of bacteria, however many Americans today have high levels of E. coli and pathogenic bacteria that can lead to gut inflammation, excessive gas production, decrease nutrient absorption in the intestines, and even cause gut cell wall death. Recent research including the studies in the paragraph below, have been looking into the role of gut bacteria in the development of common health concerns including diabetes, colorectal cancer, autoimmune diseases, obesity, and also food allergies.

The University of Copenhagen's Department of Biology is now embarking on research examining these gut bacteria genes and their role in the development of diabetes. In a recently published study, a link was found between environmental factors in pathogenic gut bacteria that are speculated to contribute to the inflammation that leads to the development of diabetes. A 2011 study looked at the impact of gut flora and their role in the development of the immune system and increased rates of obesity and diabetes when that normal balance was altered.

A proper diet includes 3-5 servings of lean protein and 7-10 servings of fruits and vegetables daily. During digestion the protein is broken down into amino acids which are used for everything in your body including hormone and enzyme production and building tissue such as muscle and ligaments. This means that if your diet doesn't include the right amount of protein you may not have the building blocks necessary for tissue rebuilding needed for healing and maintenance or the amino acids used for enzymes and hormones. The fruits and vegetables are actually a carbohydrate (YES that is correct carbohydrates are not just breads and pastas) that are broken down and used for nutrient and mineral absorption as well as for feeding the healthy gut bacteria I mentioned above. The waste products from these healthy gut bacteria actually coat and protect the cells of the gut wall from damage and death. If these bacteria don't have enough of the fruits and vegetables they need, they will not produce the waste products necessary for gut wall protection and your gut wall may start to become damaged or sections of the gut wall may die. This can lead to undigested food products being released through these dead cell walls and the potential for allergies to develop at a cellular and blood level. In order to restore a healthy bacterial balance we need to alter our diet to help promote the healthy gut bacterial growth and possibly even take a probiotic supplement to help increase the levels of healthy gut bacteria in our systems.

So what can you do to protect yourself?

1) Eat a healthy diet. Make sure to get 3-5 servings of lean protein and 7-10 servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Also make sure to drink plenty of water which should be about half your body weight in ounces, not just the 8-10 glasses of 8 oz of water anymore.
2) Cut down on sugars and junk foods. Sugars and junk food can cause an acidic environment in the intestines and a hostile environment for the healthy bacteria that need to be thriving in your gut. So cut out as many processed sugars as you can and try to restrict the bread and pasta sources of carbohydrates in favor of the health promoting carbohydrates present in fruits and vegetables.
3) Take a probiotic supplement. A probiotic supplement can help to restore normal gut flora and decrease the number of pathogenic bacteria in the gut. A good supplement should have numerous different strains of lactobacillus and recommend you take them multiple times a day, however children may need a probiotic with different strains of bacteria. If you're on any immune system suppressants or medication, you should talk to your doctor before beginning any supplemental regiment.
4) Get your gut bacteria tested. This will give you an in depth look at your current bacterial balance and dictate whether you need a special diet and/or dietary restrictions to control the digestive environment.