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Of the thousands of species of gut microbes that live in your gut, however, some are healthy for your body—while others are not. A healthful plant-based diet improves the health and diversity of your gut microbes, preventing and treating conditions like obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and inflammation associated with autoimmune diseases. High-fiber foods feed the healthy bacteria that improve immune function, reduce inflammation and chronic disease, and even help regulate mood.

Prebiotics feed healthy bacteria. Good sources of prebiotics include Jerusalem artichokes, chicory root, raw dandelion greens, leeks, onions, garlic, asparagus, whole wheat, spinach, beans, bananas, oats, and soybeans. Probiotics are live bacteria or yeasts found in fermented foods that, when consumed, take up residence in the gut and improve health. Healthy sources include sauerkraut, miso, tempeh, kimchi, and water kefir.

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Most plant foods are naturally low in fat. Overuse of antibiotics can kill off healthy bacteria. The U. Food and Drug Administration estimates that 80 percent of antibiotics are actually used in animal agriculture. Exercising, getting enough sleep, and managing stress can all have a positive impact on your gut microbes.


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  • Ninety percent of our cells are nonhuman, microbial cells. Meghan Jardine, M. Packed with glucosinolates that fight inflammation and cancer. Crowds out unhealthy bacteria and boosts nutrient absorption. Start today! Join us at the International Conference on Nutrition in Medicine. Hear the latest research on nutrition and earn continuing medical education credits.

    Gut Microbiota for Health

    Register now for discount rate. Register Now. Register Today! How can I increase good bacteria in my gut? The researchers set out to uncover more detail about the microbiome's influence on drugs. The group explains that earlier studies have shown how microbes can influence the way that specific drugs work. For instance, sulfasalazine, a drug used to treat ulcerative colitis, relies on gut bacteria to activate it.

    Conversely, Eggerthella lenta , a bacterium found in the colon, can inactivate the cardiac drug, digoxin. However, although scientists have described the microbiome's impact on specific drugs, Goodman and his colleagues explain that "the molecular mechanisms remain largely unknown. Furthermore, the scientific community has yet to describe the exact size and scope of this issue.

    In the latest study, the authors scrutinized interactions between microbes and drugs by assessing how human gut bacteria metabolize a range of medications.

    There's a Connection Between Gut Health and Depression

    They also set out to identify microbial gene products — primarily enzymes — that might metabolize medicines. In total, they assessed the abilities of 76 common strains of gut bacteria to alter drugs.

    The drugs were selected to span a wide variety of types, mechanisms of action, and chemical properties. To investigate the interaction further, the scientists used gnotobiotic mice — animals free from microbes. They found that out of the drugs They also showed that each strain of bacteria could metabolize 11—95 types of drug.

    They found that by using metagenomic data — the sum of the genes from a given population of bacteria — they could explain the potential of the group or individual bacterial species to alter drugs. The scientists hope that, going forward, this understanding might help doctors to predict how individuals are likely to respond to drugs. The authors write:. In the future, it might be possible to modify a person's microbiome to ensure that a drug works effectively and reduce the risk of serious adverse events.

    However, scientists will need to carry out much more research to build up a clearer picture of how these interactions work.

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    For now, our understanding of the influence of gut bacteria and drug metabolism is still in its infancy. Nevertheless, the findings from this latest study make it seem likely that our gut bacteria are having at least some influence on the medicines we take.


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      The Ultimate Guide to Gut Health and the Microbiome

      You have chosen to share the following article: How elderberries can help you fight the flu To proceed, simply complete the form below, and a link to the article will be sent by email on your behalf. Optional Comments max. Send securely. Message sent successfully The details of this article have been emailed on your behalf. By Tim Newman. Fact checked by Carolyn Robertson. Do the microbes in our intestines influence how well a drug will work? Autism and the gut microbiome: Further evidence strengthens link. A recent study concludes that gut bacteria contribute directly to the development of autism-like behaviors.

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