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By Dr. Keith Kantor
Inflammation and Flora Balance.
Gut flora (gut microbiota, or gastrointestinal microbiota) is the complex community of microorganisms that live in the digestive tracts of humans and other animals, including insects. (1,6,8)
The gut microbiota has a significant role in human health and disease. Dysbiosis of the intestinal ecosystem contributes to the development of certain illnesses that can be reversed by favorable alterations by probiotics. The published literature was reviewed to identify scientific data showing a relationship between imbalance of gut bacteria and development of diseases that can be improved by biologic products. The medical conditions vary from infectious and antibiotic-associated diarrhea to obesity to chronic neurologic disorders. A number of controlled clinical trials have been performed to show important biologic effects in a number of these conditions through administration of prebiotics, probiotics, and synbiotics. Controlled clinical trials have identified a limited number of prebiotics, probiotic strains, and synbiotics that favorably prevent or improve the symptoms of various disorders including inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, infectious and antibiotic-associated diarrhea, diabetes, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, necrotizing enterocolitis in very low birth weight infants, and hepatic encephalopathy. Studies have shown that probiotics alter gut flora and lead to elaboration of flora metabolites that influence health through 1 of 3 general mechanisms: direct antimicrobial effects, enhancement of mucosal barrier integrity, and immune modulation. Restoring the balance of intestinal flora by introducing probiotics for disease prevention and treatment could be beneficial to human health. It is also clear that significant differences exist between different probiotic species. Metagenomics and metatranscriptomics together with bioinformatics have allowed us to study the cross-talk between the gut microbiota and the host, furthering insight into the next generation of biologic products. (19)
In humans, the gut flora is established at one to two years after birth, and by that time the intestinal epithelium and the intestinal mucosal barrier that it secretes have co-developed in a way that is tolerant to, and even supportive of, the gut flora and that also provides a barrier to pathogenic organisms. (2,3,6,8)
Human gut microorganisms benefit the host by collecting the energy from the fermentation of undigested carbohydrates and the subsequent absorption of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), acetate, butyrate, and propionate. Intestinal bacteria also play a role in synthesizing vitamin B and vitamin K as well as metabolizing bile acids, sterols, and xenobiotics. (3,4,8)
The systemic importance of the SCFAs (small chain fatty acids) and other compounds they produce are like hormones and the gut flora itself appears to function like an endocrine organ.
Imbalance of the gut flora has been associated with a host of inflammatory and autoimmune conditions. Extensive modification and imbalances of the gut flora is associated with obesity. (5,7)
However, in certain conditions, some species are thought to be capable of causing disease by causing infection/inflammation or increasing cancer risk for the host.
Probiotic bacteria are used to treat or prevent a broad range of human diseases, conditions, and syndromes. In addition, there are areas of medical use that have been proposed for future probiotic applications. Randomized double-blind studies have provided evidence of probiotic effectiveness for the treatment and prevention of acute diarrhea and antibiotic-induced diarrhea, as well as for the prevention of cow milk–induced food allergy in infants and young children. Research studies have also provided evidence of effectiveness for the prevention of traveler’s diarrhea, relapsing Clostridium difficile–induced colitis, and urinary tract infections. There are also studies indicating that probiotics may be useful for prevention of respiratory infections in children, dental caries, irritable bowel syndrome, and inflammatory bowel disease. Areas of future interest for the application of probiotics include colon and bladder cancers, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis. The probiotics with the greatest number of proven benefits are Lactobacillus rhamnosus strain GG and Saccharomyces boulardii. (20)
Inflammation effects Flora balance in many ways one of them being the insulin mechanism. Excess inflammation can cause carbohydrate and sugar cravings leading to poor insulin regulation, stimulating the opiate receptors in the brain, triggering addictive behaviors along with detrimental health consequences, such as cancer, and obesity. (6,7)
Contributing Factors to poor flora balance include:
Age – Adults have been shown to suffer from poor flora balance more than children, although there are children who do suffer with poor flora balance. Some research points to those who were born via C-section have less exposure to healthy flora, therefore putting them at risk later on in life. (9)
Diet – Consuming a diet RICH in Processed foods will eventually lead to an imbalanced gut flora. Processed sugar feeds Candida and “bad” bacteria (including the pathogen you are trying to destroy with the antibiotic). Here is a list of processed foods that should be avoided:
Saccharin / Sweet and Low
Sucralose / Splenda.
Acesulfame Potassium / Sunett and Sweet One
Aspartame / NutraSweet, Equal and Sugar Twin.
Neotame / This is the newest of the sweeteners available on the market and was produced by the industrial giant Monsanto. Its chemical structure is similar to that of aspartame and one of its metabolites, too, is formaldehyde. In addition to this, it contains another chemical called 3-dimethylbutyl, which is listed as a harmful chemical by the Environmental Protection Agency. One of its brand names is Sweetos.
Artificial sweeteners have long been promoted as diet and health aids. But breaking research shows that these products may be leading to the very diseases they were said to help prevent: scientists have discovered that, after exposure to artificial sweeteners, our gut bacteria may be triggering harmful metabolic changes. (12)
The findings showed that many — but not all — of the volunteers had begun to develop glucose intolerance after just one week of artificial sweetener consumption. The composition of their gut microbiota explained the difference: the researchers discovered two different populations of human gut bacteria — one that induced glucose intolerance when exposed to the sweeteners, and one that had no effect either way. Dr. Elinav believes that certain bacteria in the guts of those who developed glucose intolerance reacted to the chemical sweeteners by secreting substances that then provoked an inflammatory response similar to sugar overdose, promoting changes in the body’s ability to utilize sugar. (13)
A saturated fat is a fat in which the fatty acids all have single bonds. Double bonds can react with hydrogen to form single bonds. (14)
- Whole milk
- Ice cream
- Whole-milk cheeses
- Palm and palm kernel oil
- Artificial (synthetic) preservatives BHA, BHT, TBHQ, MSG (which is also disguised as “yeast extract” in foods on labeling
The above, upon daily consumption will be more likely to show signs of poor gut health. Nutrient deficiencies will also effect flora balance. Those who are malnourished will have a higher content of yeast in their stomach and mouth, a suppressed immune system, poor digestion, autoimmune conditions and higher risk of disease. (15)
Altering the numbers of gut bacteria, for example by taking broad-spectrum antibiotics, may affect the host’s health and ability to digest food. Antibiotics can cause antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD) by irritating the bowel directly, changing the levels of gut flora, or allowing pathogenic bacteria to grow. Another harmful effect of antibiotics is the increase in numbers of antibiotic-resistant bacteria found after their use, which, when they invade the host, cause illnesses that are difficult to treat with antibiotics. (10)
The Program/ nutrition plan will help reduce inflammation while balancing flora.
This program consists of a diet rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, low in processed sugar and flour, optimal high quality proteins, dye free and chemical pure whole foods are used as much as possible.
This program/ nutrition plan incorporates healthy fats, antioxidants, fiber and optimal macro nutrient breakdowns.
This program/nutrition plan will help optimize gut flora balance, and immune system.
Specific foods and a hydroxide rich water that can help fight inflammation and promote gut flora balance include:
Hydroxide rich water
Heart healthy nut and seed butters like sunflower butter (actual nuts and seeds may be painful if colitis is a health issue),
Heart healthy oils like coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil,
All natural protein sources,
Antioxidant rich produce, including avocado, berries, cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and dark leafy greens.
Come up with a supplementation plan for your gastrointestinal health.
Working with your doctor or qualified health professional, add probiotics to your supplement regimen.
Probiotics are microorganisms that are believed to provide health benefits when consumed. With regard to gut flora, probiotics are typically non-digestible, fiber compounds (11) that pass undigested through the upper part of the gastrointestinal tract and stimulate the growth or activity of advantageous gut flora by acting as substrate for them.
Research has shown that treatment with some probiotic strains of bacteria may be effective in irritable bowel syndrome and chronic idiopathic constipation. (16,17)
This treatment is designed to improve problems related to leaky gut, a condition in which damaged intestinal walls release undigested food particles into the bloodstream. Leaky gut is associated with a range of inflammatory and immune responses including Irritable Bowel Disease, Crohn’s Disease, Colitis, asthma and diabetes. (18)
The Program/ nutrition plan will work best in additional to a support team; it is ideal for those who are under supervised clinical treatment and therapies of qualified health professionals.
Certain lifestyle trends and habits may contribute to gut health.
Poor nutrition, environmental toxin exposure, nutrient deficiencies, and stress are all contributing factors to poor flora balance.
Try to detoxify your cosmetics, cleaning products, and food utensils, containers, etc. Look for all natural cosmetics, avoiding parabens, dyes, titanium, etc. Move towards, stainless steel, ceramic, and glass kitchenware.
The goal of a sound nutrition program, working to reduce inflammation and maintain a healthy gut flora balance includes incorporating these essential nutrients daily:
- Vitamin D – from the Sun, fatty fish like salmon and sardines and if you choose to supplement a simple baseline is 1000IU per 25 lbs. of body weight.
- Vitamin K2 – grass fed butter, egg yolks.
- Magnesium – spinach, Swiss chard, halibut, salmon and pumpkin seeds.
- If you decide to go with a supplement, I recommend taking from 200 mg to 500 mg per day in a form like magnesium citrate, chloride or glycinate, which are absorbed much better than the cheaper magnesium oxide form.
- Vitamin C as well as other antioxidants like selenium and vitamin E are very important and used heavily when the body is dealing with an infection or are trying to heal tissues. Some sources of these antioxidants include citrus fruits, peppers, sunflower butter, spinach, and avocado.
Foods to include in daily nutrition: Omega 3 fatty acids from wild caught salmon, avocados, and cruciferous vegetables like Brussel Sprouts, cabbage, and broccoli.
Foods to Avoid: coffee, sport drinks/juice, candy and gluten.
Proper Hydration through Hydroxide Rich Water for Flora Balance and Combatting Inflammation
Acidity and inflammation go hand in hand. By chemical definition, acidity is a problem of too much hydrogen (H+). Too much acidity in the body can stem from diet, disease, exercise, and other life style factors. It is generally recognized that excess acidity in the body creates inflammation which leads to other disease conditions. Acidity causes a lack of oxygen and a lower pH condition in which pathogens flourish.
Hydroxide (OH–) is a natural hydrogen hunter that does not merely buffer the body against excess hydrogen but eliminates by combining with it to form harmless water. That water can then be used for hydration or eliminated through urination. Here is the formula of the elimination reaction: OH– + H+ = H2O.
Most alkaline waters attempt to help the body buffer acidity by providing alkaline minerals. But this does not address the underlying problem of excess hydrogen and instead only helps the body maintain pH balance. Potential hydrogen (pH) balance helps the body but it does not fix the issue. The main goal of most alkaline waters is pH balance but this misses the point.
A water rich in hydroxide seeks to eliminate acidity by eliminating the excess hydrogen. Most alkaline waters contain some hydroxide if they claim either to contain negative ions or have gone through ionization. The problem is most alkaline waters rely more on alkaline minerals to buffer the excess hydrogen than they use the hydroxide to eliminate hydrogen. This is why it is imperative to find a hydroxide rich water because elimination is far more effective in restoring balance to the body than mere buffering.
Benefits of a hydroxide rich water:
- Hydroxide eliminates acidity rather than just buffering the acidity.
- Hydroxide produces no toxic by-products. It produces only water which can be used for hydration or eliminated through urination.
- By eliminating excess acidity (hydrogen), it frees up the body’s own oxygen to use for other biological processes.
- Hydroxide restores completely the acid-alkaline balance beyond just pH balance.
- Hydroxide helps reduce inflammation by eliminating acidity and not just buffering it. Drastically reducing inflammation has been shown in many studies to help the health gut flora and maintain a proper balance needed to help the immune system and various diseases, as mentioned above.
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