Are your gut bacteria making you sick? [infographic]

Posted on 25 April 2019

Your gut bacteria play a role in more bodily functions than you might imagine. How do you know if your gut – or microbiome – is making you sick? And what makes your microbiome healthy?  

Your microbiome refers to the collective bacterial species found in your gut, skin and mouth. You have billions of these micro-organism crawling around your body which may sound disturbing but the majority of them are really good for you.

The balance between the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria or micro-organisms in your gut can affect the proper functioning of your immune system, your body’s ability to absorb nutrients from your food, your blood sugar levels and your emotions.

A study that transplanted the microbiota (micro-organisms of a particular site, in this case, the gut) of humans with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) into mice, found that the mice showed physical symptoms associated with IBS, but also behavioural symptoms like anxiety.

According to Ilsabé Spoelstra, a dietician at Mediclinic Bloemfontein, a damaged gut microbiome can be detrimental to your physical health. “It can reduce immune function, inhibit digestion and absorption, and lead to serious conditions such as colon cancer, diabetes, obesity, depression and inflammatory bowel diseases (including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis),” she explains.

Antibiotics cannot differentiate between harmful and beneficial bacteria and they can indiscriminately damage all your gut bacteria. Read this article to find out more about the difference between antibiotics vs. probiotics





Published in Gastroenterology

In the interest of our patients, in accordance with SA law and our commitment to expertise, Mediclinic cannot subscribe to the practice of online diagnosis. Please consult a medical professional for specific medical advice. If you have any major concerns, please see your doctor for an assessment. If you have any cause for concern, your GP will be able to direct you to the appropriate specialists.

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