Thursday, January 29, 2015
A healthy, functional gut microbiota (bacteria and fungi) supplies all of the vitamins needed, stimulates the development of a balanced immune system and promotes vitality. If you feed and maintain the diversity of the pounds of bacteria in your gut, you will be healthy. If you listen to the medical and food industries, you will be sick, i.e. a good patient/consumer.
Supplements Compensate for Deficiencies/Sickness
The key to this discussion is the functions of the healthy communities of bacteria and fungi called the gut microbiota. These pounds of bacteria produce all of the vitamins that your body needs, and spiking your diet with multivitamins may disrupt your microbiota, because vitamins are actually the chemical signals used for communications between bacteria in biofilms. Numerous studies have shown that daily multivitamins are not beneficial, so if you see extra vitamins on the ingredients label, try some whole foods instead. If, however, you have been exposed to antibiotics or other medications, since most have potent antibiotic activities, then your gut bacteria may not be producing vitamins normally, and you may need to supplement. Vitamin deficiencies are a symptom of gut dysbiosis, damaged gut microbiota.
Vitamin D is a Steroid Hormone Produced from Cholesterol in Skin by Sunlight
Most people know that sunlight striking skin produces vitamin D, but they still think that they can get a significant amount of vitamin D from their diet. The confusion comes from the fact that vitamin D is a major hormone that influences many body systems including bone production and immunity. So in the absence of skin production of vitamin D, the low amounts added to milk are sufficient to prevent deficiency/rickets. However, chronic inflammation can block solar production of vitamin D, so that even individuals near the equator and basking daily still remain deficient. Vitamin D deficiency may also, insidiously, be a major source of chronic inflammation. Thus, most individuals treated for deficiency with supplemental vitamin D3, do not reach high enough levels to suppress chronic inflammation and restart solar production, so they remain deficient. Chronic inflammation is a symptom of vitamin D deficiency.
Bowel Cleanses Damage Gut Microbiota
The bowels are a long tubelike conveyance and it takes food about a day to travel from table to toilet. In the colon, all of the plant polysaccharide fibers remaining after removal of sugar, starch, fat and protein, are digested by enzymes of the microbiota and converted into more bacteria and short chain fatty acids that feed the colon tissue. There is nothing toxic left behind in the colon. Protein from meat is readily digested in the stomach and the first part of the small intestines. Plant materials cannot be digested without the help of a complex array of hundreds of enzymes produced by gut bacteria. Food intolerances are caused by the loss of particular bacterial species needed for complete digestion of one type of plant fiber. The bacteria form the stools, and insufficient healthy bowel bacteria, normally fed by the fiber, is the cause of constipation. Clearly, flushing out bacteria with a "cleanse" is unhealthy and counterproductive. There is nothing in the colon but gut bacteria and fiber to feed the bacteria. Those bacteria are needed for vitamin production, normal development of the immune system and normal stools. A cleanse merely removes healthy gut bacteria and leads to constipation or replacement by pathogens.
Processing Removes Prebiotic Fiber from Food and Starves Gut Microbiota
Diverse and complex plant polysaccharides, e.g. pectin, arabinogalactan, various glucans and fructans, are systematically digested by hundreds of different bacterial enzymes of the healthy gut microbiota. The sugars that result are eventually converted into short chain fatty acids, such as butyrate, that feed the cells lining the colon. The plant polysaccharides that feed gut bacteria are called prebiotics. Unfortunately, prebiotics are removed during food processing to enhance ease of preparation and palatability. The result of decreased dietary prebiotics is selective starvation and removal of bacterial species needed for the development of the immune system, and autoimmune diseases.
Most Medicines Have Substantial Antibiotic Activity and Damage Gut Microbiota
It is not surprising that antibiotics damage the bacteria in the gut. What most people don’t realize is that most pharmaceuticals/medicines are developed from the natural antibiotics of plants, phytoalexins. Numerous recent studies have demonstrated most common medicines, e.g. statins, NSAID, antidepressants, etc. have substantial antibiotic activity and damage gut bacteria. Surgeons commonly suggest that patients eat yogurt to help repair their gut micro biomes after operations and antibiotics, but they don’t tell them how to fix their gut and immune system as they take medications for the rest of their lives. The permanently damaged gut just causes further deterioration of the immune system and health.
Damaged Gut Microbiotas/Immune Systems Can Be Fixed
I have several other posts on repair of gut microbiota.
Examination of antimicrobial activity of selected non-antibiotic medicinal preparations.
Kruszewska H1, Zareba T, Tyski S. Acta Pol Pharm. 2012. 69(6):1368-71.