Many of us have associated bacteria with disease and infection ever since we were kids – after all, from an early age we’re taught about how diseases are spread through bacteria, and even today many people die every year from stubborn bacterial infections.
But there are bacteria that do us more good than harm – and they’re found inside our guts.
The human microbiome is made up of 100 trillion different types of bacteria living in our intestines(1), most of which have beneficial functions. These bacteria have a huge effect on our health, as well as on our risk for developing specific diseases, our mood, and even our weight.
The Important Role Of Gut Bacteria
As we come to understand better how our bodies work (thanks to modern science), we’ve realized that our gut bacteria are instrumental in some seriously life-sustaining functions.
They balance our immune system(2), control inflammation(3), help detox our bodies(4), aid in the production of serotonin(5), manufacture vitamins(6), harvest nutrients from the food we eat(7), and keep us from developing a “leaky gut”(8).
Preventing leaky gut is particularly important, as the breakdown of the lining of our intestines is associated with all kinds of serious health problems – like depression(9), obesity(10), anxiety(11), type 2 diabetes(12), and Alzheimer’s disease(13).
Clearly, keeping our gut lining – and the bacteria that live there – healthy and functional should be a high priority for everyone.
When our gut bacteria are healthy, we’re less susceptible to chronic inflammation, which is associated with several chronic health conditions, including coronary artery disease(14) and certain forms of cancer(15). But when they’re unhealthy, it can make us seriously sick in more ways than one.