The Impact of Chronic Inflammation Disorders

The Impact of Chronic Inflammation Disorders

Looking after your gut microbiota is vital in maintaining a healthy digestive system. Suppressing gut bacteria may assist in easing symptoms of pain and swelling in the intestines, most commonly associated with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). These symptoms can be difficult to manage, and can have a huge impact on an individual’s day to day life. The key to understanding Inflammatory Bowel Disease is to examine the makeup of bacteria in the gut among people with IBD. Alieving symptoms can be challenging but it can be minimised with the right treatment.

One such treatment as part of the study on IBD research at the Elinav Lab at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, found that identifying the makeup of microorganisms in the gut is an important contributing factor to IBD. By identifying the gut microbes and then figuring out how to target them can we get closer to treating these chronic diseases. The difficulty is identifying these microbes at the strain level.

At the Elinav Lab one such specific strain of bacteria identified was Klebsiella pneumonia (Kp) that was associated with an increased severity in IBD patients. These findings were cross referenced when this bacterial strain was transferred to mice and observations were made when the mice exhibited increased levels of intestinal inflammation. 

Treatment for Inflammatory Bowel Disease

To target specific strains associated with IBD, such as Kp researchers targeted their efforts at bacteriophage as a treatment option for these bacterial strains. This is important because these types of viruses (phages) can target specific bacteria and destroy them. However, the problem lies in the bacteria developing resistance to one type of phage, and so researchers focused their attention on combining phages to target IBD bacteria. They reported that they successfully found a combination of five phages that worked as an effective treatment for Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome. However more clinical trials, which involves different testing methods are needed to substantiate the success of these findings.

Alternative Treatments

Studies have shown that certain probiotic bacteria can prevent or minimise intestinal inflammation in some animal models. Clinical evidence also adds support for the use of probiotics in IBD. The seven microbial organisms most often used in probiotic products are Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Saccharomyces, Streptococcus, Enterococcus, Escherichia and Bacillus. At the strain level the most common types of microorganisms used as probiotics are lactic acid bacteria and bifidobacteria, although other bacteria and certain yeasts are also used. These naturally occurring probiotics are found in fermented foods, such as yoghurt, kefir, kombucha, kimchi and sauerkraut to name a few.

Probiotics such as these are actual living microorganisms that are claimed to provide support to the digestive system among other health benefits. Products marketed as probiotics contain live cultures that can help with many health issues, because they contain bacteria that can help digest food, destroy disease-causing microorganisms, and even help produce vitamins. Better still, many microorganisms found in probiotic products are similar to those that live naturally in the body to perform different functions within us (NuLiv Science).

Conclusion

Nutrition has a direct impact on the gut and how it is absorbed by the body is specific to each individual’s microbiome. Our gut microbiome influences many aspects of life including our mental health, immune health, skin and even our likelihood of developing diseases such as cancer. What we consume directly affects our microbiome and gut health. Fermented foods are extremely good for the gut. They contain probiotic bacteria, which help to colonise our gut with the good bacteria we need and keep out the bad bacteria (NuLiv Science). Having a diverse microbiome makes the gut more resilient and capable of functioning effectively.

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