Boosting Good Bacteria in the Colon Without Probiotics

Boosting Good Bacteria in the Colon Without Probiotics
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Certain good bacteria in our gut can turn the fiber we eat into an anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer compound—called butyrate—that we absorb back into our system. We may be able to boost the number of butyrate-producing bacteria by eating a plant-based diet.

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Our friendly flora’s digestion of fiber also yields another short-chain fatty acid called butyrate, which may fight against cancer by slowing the growth of colon cancer cells and activating programmed cancer cell death—as well as preventing cancer in the first place. Butyrate may explain why fiber-filled, plant-based diets are so anti-inflammatory.

A recent review concluded that butyrate seems “to exert broad anti-inflammatory activities,” and might be a good candidate “to evaluate in the fight against obesity-associated and systemic inflammation in general.” Now they’re alluding to using it as some kind of supplement, but we can produce more on our own, naturally, by two ways.

Number one is eating more plant foods, since it’s a by-product of fiber digestion. And number two, we can boost the number of butyrate-producing bacteria in our colon by—eating more plant foods!

“[D]ifferent butyrate production capacity in individuals according to diet.” Not only do those eating vegetarian harbor more good bacteria, period; vegetarian fecal samples showed the highest number of copies of butyrate-producing genes.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by MaryAnn Allison.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site. 

Our friendly flora’s digestion of fiber also yields another short-chain fatty acid called butyrate, which may fight against cancer by slowing the growth of colon cancer cells and activating programmed cancer cell death—as well as preventing cancer in the first place. Butyrate may explain why fiber-filled, plant-based diets are so anti-inflammatory.

A recent review concluded that butyrate seems “to exert broad anti-inflammatory activities,” and might be a good candidate “to evaluate in the fight against obesity-associated and systemic inflammation in general.” Now they’re alluding to using it as some kind of supplement, but we can produce more on our own, naturally, by two ways.

Number one is eating more plant foods, since it’s a by-product of fiber digestion. And number two, we can boost the number of butyrate-producing bacteria in our colon by—eating more plant foods!

“[D]ifferent butyrate production capacity in individuals according to diet.” Not only do those eating vegetarian harbor more good bacteria, period; vegetarian fecal samples showed the highest number of copies of butyrate-producing genes.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by MaryAnn Allison.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site. 

Nota del Doctor

This is the second of a three-part video series on interacting with our intestinal tenants. In Fawning Over Flora, I first discussed another short-chain fatty acid our good gut bacteria can make from fiber, called propionate. I conclude the series with Tipping Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes. For a sampling of other videos on keeping our colon happy, see Kiwifruit for Irritable Bowel SyndromeFlax and Fecal FloraIs Dragon Fruit Good For You?; and Bristol Stool Scale.

For further context, check out my associated blog posts: Boosting Gut Flora Without ProbioticsTreating Parkinson’s Disease With Diet; and Avoid Carnitine and Lethicin Supplements.

Update: In 2017, I released a new video on probiotics. See: Culture Shock – Questioning the Efficacy and Safety of Probiotics

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

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