Certain bacteria in the gut can strengthen the immune system, while others can promote the inflammation.
Many diseases – of the skin, lungs, joints, and other tissue – are caused by inflammation. A bacterial imbalance can lead to elevated inflammation that can advance disease.
Researchers have also uncovered connections between intestinal bacteria and anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, ADD, autism, and Alzheimer’s disease, among others. Some chalk up this link to intestinal bacteria’s ability to make small molecules (called metabolites) that can reach the brain and impact how it works.
• Care and Feeding of Our Microbiome
As the roster of diseases linked to intestinal microbes continues to grow, the burning question is this: Can we change our gut bacteria and cure or get rid of the risk for a particular disease?
Long – term dietary changes could reshape your microbiome, giving it a healthier profile. This could improve immune function, lower inflammation, and lead to overall better health. Not just a healthy diet, but a more varied diet may be key to fostering a diverse and healthy microbiome. Specific exercise might diversify gut bacteria, too, says a recent study that showed athletes had more varied intestinal microbes than their non-athlete peers.
Some scientists believe analysis of microbiome will one day be as common as routine blood tests. Doctors could discuss the results with you and the long-term management of your gut bacteria. Current research could one day lead to customised probiotics that. would offset whatever disease-promoting microbiome you might harbour.
We could envision a therapy, where people are actually taking specific microbiota, that actually helps them prevent obesity or diabetes for instance.