Nov 28 2011
Most people are now aware that there are billions of bacteria that live in our digestive tracts. In fact, there are more bacteria in our gut than there are cells in our entire body. Some estimates have stated that the biomass of these bacteria weighs close to an average of 10 pounds! The balance of good and bad bacteria amounts to an ecosystem that lives inside you. Naturopathic doctors often use the term dysbiosis to refer to imbalances in the bacterial content of the gut. Dysbiosis can lead to any number of health problems; not just intestinal disorders like irritable bowel syndrome and colitis. The health of the gut can impact any auto-immune condition, allergies, headaches, hormonal health, mood and the skin–virtually any system in the body.
The functions of beneficial gut bacteria, or probiotics as they are commonly called, are numerous. Just to name a few, beneficial bacteria keep the bowels moving regularly (essential for eliminating toxins), protect you from certain infections, enhance the absorption of many nutrients, increase the production of most B-vitamins, enhance enzyme activity to metabolize food and probably most importantly, regulate immune function and inflammation. This is accomplished by a number of different mechanisms. If you’d like more specifics, see here: http://www.dadamo.com/media/blood_type_probiotics.html. In addition, this article written by Drs. D’Adamo and Kelly will explain why your blood type matters when it comes to which probiotics one should ingest.
Some recent research has explored the makeup of the digestive tracts of different people and the effect diet can have on the kinds of bacteria that grow in the intestines (i). It is fascinating to me that there have emerged 3 distinct “gut enterotypes”, at least with the limited amount of research into this concept. Meaning, 3 different types of bacteria dominate the intestinal tracts of people in the study regardless of race, sex, geography and age (ii). There are a plethora of factors that influence the composition of the bacteria inside us but undoubtedly diet can play a role. Understanding the reasons why certain bacteria will grow in certain people, based on their diets, their blood type and other genetic markers and/or other environmental influences like toxicity and stress, is an area that needs much more investigation but could lead to profound consequences for treating disease. Probiotics are probably the single most commonly recommended supplement in my practice.