Can you change your gut bacteria for the better?
The human gut is inhabited by a complex community of bacteria, collectively referred to as microbiota. It is estimated that the number of these microbiota outnumber the human cells in our body by a factor of ten. These microbiota are part of our eco system and help to maintain our health by contributing to digestion of food as well as regulating the health of our immune system. It is therefore not surprising that change in gut bacteria can have consequences for human health. Currently altered gut bacteria have been associated with not only gut disease such as irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel diseases e.g. Crohn's disease but also with neurological conditions like Parkinson's disease and psychological problems such as depression. It has been demonstrated that diversity of gut bacteria can be affected diet and indeed change in the type of carbohydrate eaten can improve symptoms in irritable bowel syndrome. Probiotics which are live bacteria that are good for health have been used to improve symptoms in diverse diseases not only related to the gut but also the nervous system. A huge body of research is currently directed at understanding the role of gut microbiota in human disease and use of probiotics and diet in their treatment. Probiotics can help conditions such as post antibiotic diarrhoea, and in some patients with irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease. Our doctors here at the The Physicians' Clinic have expertise on the use of probiotics in specific conditions and are also involved in pioneering research in the field.
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