The bacteria that live in your GI tract are one of the most overlooked and vaguely understood components of both weight loss and longevity.There are a host of weight and health related problems that come from imbalances or problems with your intestinal flora.
Do you get a tummy bloat after eating carbs?
Is your fat relatively low but you still have a protruding stomach?
Do you not seem to recover well after exercise?
All of these can be manifestations of a problem with your internal flora. The old adage 'you are what you eat' gives way to our modern understanding that 'you are wh at you absorb'.
In this series, we will look at the role of intestinal flora. Our aim here is to education you on the nature of the vital role intestinal flora play in our health, weight loss, and longevity.
First, let's understand what we mean by the term 'gut flora'. The term gut flora reflects to the delicate balance of microbes and other 'germs,' both good and bad, that live in the human gut (the stomach, small and large intestines and colon). The gut flora balance is the perfect scientific example of a commensal relationship – an otherwise symbiotic relationship where only one side benefits (in this case, the human).
There are billions of gut flora bacterial cells in the human body, compromising over 400 different strains. In fact, the bacteria in your stomach can combine up to 22lbs of your total body weight! Although many of the types of bacteria living in our stomach have been identified, there are still several types of gut flora that have yet to be explored, mainly because many are resistant to the latest culturing techniques, making them nearly impossible to study. The problem is that many types of intestinal flora can not survive outside of the warm, incubating human body and therefore can not be studied alive.
So what do the flora in our stomach and intestines do? How does what they do relate to losing weight and being lean and fit? Consider the following …
Many of the flora in our gut work symbiotically within the human body. A partial list of the physiological processes that are affected by our composition of intestinal bacteria would include our immune system, digesting carbohydrates, preventing irritable bowels, maximizing the absorption of nutrients, energy production and more.
For the purposes of weight loss and fitness we must consider that proper nutrition is essential to be lean and fit. Our intestinal flora has a very large influence over the assimilation and absorption of what we eat. Conversely, an equally important consideration that is usually overlooked is that what we eat can influence our composition of intestinal flora.
One example is the excess consumption of sugar. Certain types of flora that live within our gut thrive on a high sugar diet, most notably Candida Albicans. If you get a bloat in your lower tummy after eating sugar, this is a good indication of a candida bloom. These flora produce what are known as endotoxins. Endotoxins are poisonous substances that live within the bacteria themselves. When these bacteria die, the poisons within them flood into your body causing an immune response. If you have ever consumed sugar and felt nauseated, the endotoxins released into your system from bad gut flora are the culprit.This is just one example illustrating that if you want to lose weight and be fit and lean for life, you can not ignore the influence wielded by the little bugs living in your gut.