Gut Bacteria – The “Forgotten Organ” You Need to Treat Well

By Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.A.C.N., C.N.S., C.B.T.

You are host to 100 trillion bacteria in your gut. Be VERY nice to them…Your health depends on it!

That’s right…100 trillion. They live in your intestines and comprise what experts say is literally an organ within an organ with vast influence over your immune system, digestion, elimination, and many other functions in your body, including your energy level, mental state, and even your weight.

What you eat, the medications you take, and the stress in your life can determine how well this organ – experts call it “the microbiome” – operates. In other words, how healthy you are (or not) and how good you feel (or not).

Within this vast population of microorganisms are colonies of specific bacterial strains. They run the gamut from beneficial probiotics (such as the familiar lactobacillus) to pathogenic villains like Clostridium difficile that cause diarrhea. A sort of turf warfare goes on continually within your gut.

But your actions have a lot to about who comes out on top.

How Much Do You Know About Beneficial Bacteria: True or False?

  • 75 percent of the bacteria in your body live in your intestines.

False: Actually, 95 percent of bacteria live in your intestines! Learn More >

  • Varying strains of bacteria compete for resources within you.

True: Inside your gut, various strains of bacteria engage in a sort-of “turf warfare” as they respond to the ever changing environment. Learn More >

  • What you consume impacts the types of bacteria you host.

True: Diet, medications, and even stress levels can affect your microbiome. Learn More >

  • The types of bacteria you host affect your resistance to illness and infection.

True: The beneficial bacteria in your body produce molecules that direct your immune system and influence your genes and numerous cellular mechanisms. Learn More >

  • Some types of bacteria make you more prone to weight gain.

True: Artificial sweeteners, excess sugar consumption, and diets high in refined carbohydrates all contribute to the proliferation of less desirable bacteria in the gut. This proliferation causes imbalance in the microbiome and can lead to sugary food cravings, insulin resistance, and weight gain. Learn More >

  • Sugar helps promote the growth of beneficial bacteria.

False: Sugar feeds less beneficial bacteria and causes imbalance in your microbiome. Learn More >

  • Collectively, the bacteria in your body can weigh up to 7 pounds!

False: Collectively, the bacteria would actually weigh about 3.5 pounds – still a pretty hefty population! Learn More >

This is information you need to know, and in this introductory article, I’ll introduce you to your “organ within an organ,” along with some recommendations from a leading expert on how to maintain a healthy bacterial balance in your body.

That expert is Tom Sult, MD, a Minnesota physician, who has been prescribing microbiome-improvement strategies to fortify his patients, even children to protect them against colds, for more than two decades. He cites the overzealous use of antibiotics and overconsumption of refined carbohydrates as two major causes of microbiome imbalances leading to many bizarre illnesses and rise in auto-immunity diseases.

And for an even fuller scoop: Check out my comprehensive Gut Health Ebook!

© 2015 HeartMD Institute. All rights reserved.

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3 Comments

  1. Richard Kurylski, PhD

    on March 21, 2015 at 12:14 am

    “Sugar helps promote the growth of beneficial bacteria.
    False:…-”
    Some 5 years ago there was much talk concerning a different type of sugar. Even Dr Mercola and many others wrote about it. Especially xylitol is in my mind. Now specialists have forgotten about it and I don’t know why all that has gone into oblivion. Xylitol was /is(?) considered anti-bacterial. It is especially useful for dental treatment (it protects against cavities). Another one is stevia and the third one is sugar contained in some kind of honey from New Zealand (I don’t remember its name). So should we put these three to the same box of sugars? I think not unless there have been their new negative properties discovered that I am not aware of yet.

  2. Staranne Maxson

    on March 22, 2015 at 7:59 pm

    There are more than just 3 that should not be put into the same box. Maple, as a sweetener, has been used by native americans for centuries, as was honey and agave. Sugar, in its natural condition, is in most fruits and vegetables. There are many avenues on the path that turns sugar into the dragon it has become. The steps in the processing and refinement, our addiction to it that grows as our capacity to use it decreases with physical inactivity. The greed that is found throughout our economic system plays its own part. Splenda has been practically forcefed to us. But there are some credible companies that are working hard to produce naturally based sweeteners that will work better than the commonly used artificial versions we have now.

  3. Linda

    on March 1, 2018 at 2:35 pm

    What about monkfruit? Tastes sweeter but has a lot less sugar calories.

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