Protecting Your Gut Lining with Probiotics
Trillions of tiny beneficial microbes live in your gut, but they do more than just hang out there. They carry out task important tasks to help maintain the integrity of your gut lining.
90% of the gut population consists of bacteria with roughly 1,000 different species. Some bacteria are more helpful than others. Sometimes, microbes do grow out of control, making you ill.
How important is your gut lining?
Your intestinal lining is extremely important. For nutrients and other important substances to reach the different organs of your body, they need to pass through your gut. Gut lining plays a crucial role here.
Your gut is lined with various cells and mucus that acts as gatekeepers to the rest of your body. Cells make up the lining, which has a surface area of 4,000 square feet. A tight barrier forms when the lining works properly, preventing large particles from exiting and entering your bloodstream. Two features distinguish the gut lining:
- Cells and mucous membranes constitute its physical layer. It serves as the gatekeeper in that it prevents large molecules from passing through.
- The other feature is controlled by your immune system. When there is a threat, your immune system responds by inflaming your gut lining as a first line of defense. When the lining is too porous, toxins, bacteria, and partially digested food can reach the tissues below. This can cause inflammation and alter the normal bacteria composition of the gut.
How does diet influence your gut bacteria?
The beneficial microbes in your gut live and work together to not only nourish themselves but also one another. In turn, they also nourish you. You can keep your gut healthy by supplying it with nourishment, such as fiber from plant foods. Probiotics like plant foods the best, which includes whole foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. These foods are known as prebiotics. They directly nourish your gut bacteria. Your body gets energy from these foods and your gut gets nourishment from them as well. Different types of fibers and polyphenols are considered prebiotics. Fiber isn't easily digested by the human body, but your gut bacteria have the right tools for the job.
Gut health and diet
Gut bacteria thrive when fed properly. This also makes your gut lining healthy and ready to protect you. If your gut lining isn’t functioning properly, it becomes too porous. As a result, things that aren’t supposed to pass through them can pass and may affect your health.
As you digest foods, the tight junction or proteins that line the gut stretch and allow the nutrient to penetrate. However, if it’s too porous, or stays open for too long, bacteria, toxins, and food particles can leak through the gut. You call this the “leaky gut” syndrome. Leaky-gut syndrome can cause your immune function to overreact and lead to chronic inflammation.
Your diet can impact your gut health. If you are on a low-fiber diet, the probiotics in your gut are not well-nourished. The same goes when you consume too many sugary foods. A diet that is high in saturated fats can reduce the abundance of Lactobacillus species. Deficiencies in essential nutrients like vitamin A and D, magnesium, or zinc can increase leaky gut syndrome.