Gut flora has become a major focus of scientific and medical research in recent decades. Books and numerous articles are devoted to it. It is now considered an organ in itself, and the intestinal flora is more than ever at the centre of our health concerns. It has the power to control inflammation in the body or, on the contrary, to amplify it and thus promote chronic inflammatory diseases.
The intestinal flora determines the level of inflammation in the body.
The intestinal flora, also known as the gut microbiota, is the collection of bacteria and micro-organisms that live in the gut.
Recent research results show that the gut flora is involved in the onset of chronic joint diseases such as spondylitis or rheumatoid arthritis. The researchers examined the bacteria present in the intestinal flora of people with these diseases. They then compared it with that of healthy people.
The result shows an imbalance in the bacterial population in people with spondylarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. Patients have a lower microbial diversity than healthy people. This has already been identified in other inflammatory diseases. The other aggravating factor is the presence of a high proportion of bacterial strains.
Scientific studies have shown that a balanced and diversified intestinal flora allows people to live healthier lives and, above all, to age in good health. Certain bacteria in the gut protect us from inflammation and control the development of cancer cells. Their presence prevents certain diseases from developing.
A healthy gut flora keeps the level of chronic inflammation low. In contrast, an unbalanced intestinal flora, or dysbiosis, is a true time bomb. Insidiously, it is the breeding ground for many diseases. Recurrent digestive disorders or weight gain that is lasting are the most frequent indicators of a problematic evolution of the state of the intestinal flora.
Protective bacteria: probiotics
Inflammation often starts in the gut. It occurs with the decrease of bacterial strains that protect against inflammation.
Maintaining your flora is not easy. In our modern world, it is often attacked from all sides. Antibiotic treatments, water with too much chlorine, eating too much food, meals that are too heavy to digest, lack of chewing are all factors that can unbalance the state of the intestinal flora. Added to this are stress, heavy metals and the damage caused by certain drugs such as the contraceptive pill, anti-inflammatory drugs or antacids.
In order to strengthen the intestinal flora and to fight against the aggressions that it is subjected to, it is not easy to implant the intestinal flora of a healthy person. So, as an alternative, we have probiotics. These are bacteria that promote good gut health.
Probiotics are being marketed more and more. The promises are so great and the market to conquer is immense. So laboratories are making a lot of probiotic-based food supplements.
Restoring the intestinal flora
Very promising results allow researchers to prevent and cure diseases that are currently considered incurable. Imagine what a promising market this would be, where it would be possible for laboratories to patent a probiotic-based food supplement for every disease.
Probiotic supplements often bring relief. The real long-term results, when the treatment has been stopped for several months, are much more uncertain. Taking probiotics in an intestinal environment unfavourable to their presence does not provide lasting results.
Probiotics in food supplements or fortified foods relieve many disorders, but one should not become dependent on them. Chronic use can lead to an unsuitable composition of the gut microbiota, which can have adverse effects. Among the consequences observed is rapid weight gain leading to obesity.
Probiotics in food supplements or fortified foods should be handled with great care. Although they can work miracles, they can also be very destructive when used inappropriately. To avoid unpleasant surprises, it is therefore necessary to also act on the diet and on the state in which the body finds itself.
Tips for action
The situation around the intestinal flora can be worrying. When the cause of the imbalance is mainly dietary, in just 24 hours it is possible to start changing the state of your gut flora. Significant improvements in digestion, fatigue and health can be achieved within one to two months. When diet is a minority cause (e.g. in cases of heavy metal poisoning), acting on diet alone is bound to fail. Personalization is always very important for effective support.
The intestinal flora and the state of the intestine determine the level of inflammation in the body, the level of our immune system, our energy level, the quality of our sleep, and influence our mood and our tendency to gain weight easily or to maintain a stable weight.
Taking care of our intestinal flora is essential to maintain good digestion for a long time, to get back into shape and to maintain a stable weight. It also helps to prevent chronic diseases and to avoid premature ageing.