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Gut microbiota – key to your health

by Michael Cutler, M.D. 

Did you know that your intestinal bacteria impact virtually all systems in your body? But how you might ask? I’ll explain what a healthy gut microbiota should be and how it is directly related to your body health. In my follow up article, I’ll reveal the foods and artificial sweeteners that adversely affect your gut bacteria balance and diversity.[1] 

Importance of a healthy gut microbiota[2]

Just go online to PubMed, also known as the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/) and search for “gut microbiota” and you’ll find more than 25,000 scientific articles. You will quickly come to learn that this area of scientific study is not new—but it’s just not very well known by mainstream medicine doctors yet.

Your gut bacteria produce a variety of nutrients. They produce short-chain fatty acids, B vitamins, and vitamin K to name a few.  The bacteria actually interact with epithelial and sub-epithelial cell receptors and even release proteins known to influence your metabolism. As I will explain, they play various roles in the pathogenesis of metabolic syndrome, diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, impaired cognition, and more. Their impact extends well beyond just the function of food digestion in the gut.

Gut microbiota impacts most body systems

Apparently, your gut microbiota influences essential bodily functions such as digestion, energy metabolism, and even inflammation. These organisms somehow modulate multiple hormone (endocrine), nervous system (neural), and immune system functions in our body.[3]

There may exist a gut microbiota signature that promotes intestinal inflammation and subsequent systemic low-grade inflammation, which in turn promotes the development of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.[4] According to these[5] authors, “Over the past 10 years, data from different sources have established a causal link between the intestinal microbiota and obesity/insulin resistance."

Gut microbiota contributes to the development of heart disease [6] [7] [8]

Gut microbiota influences bone health too. The emerging field of the gut-brain-bone axis is showing that the microbiota of the gut drives bone physiology via regulation of key hormones (hormones that are originally made in the brain).[9]

I have much more to share about the importance of and how to achieve a healthy gut microbiota. Stay tuned to my next article on this topic. 


To a healthy gut microbiota and long life,

Michael Cutler, M.D.

[1]Nettleton JE, Reimer RA, Shearer J. Reshaping the gut microbiota: Impact of low calorie sweeteners and the link to insulin resistance? Physiol Behav. 2016 Oct 1;164(Pt B):488-493. Review. PubMed PMID: 27090230. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27090230

[2] Ramakrishna BS. Role of the gut microbiota in human nutrition and metabolism. J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2013 Dec;28 Suppl 4:9-17. Review. PubMed PMID: 24251697. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24251697

[3] Lange K, Buerger M, Stallmach A, Bruns T. Effects of Antibiotics on Gut Microbiota. Dig Dis. 2016;34(3):260-8. PubMed PMID: 27028893. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27028893

[4] Wen L, Duffy A. Factors Influencing the Gut Microbiota, Inflammation, and Type 2 Diabetes. J Nutr. 2017 Jul;147(7):1468S-1475S. Review. PubMed PMID: 28615382. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28615382

[5] Saad MJ, Santos A, Prada PO. Linking Gut Microbiota and Inflammation to Obesity and Insulin Resistance. Physiology (Bethesda). 2016 Jul;31(4):283-93. Review. PubMed PMID: 27252163. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27252163

[6] Miele L, Giorgio V, Alberelli MA, De Candia E, Gasbarrini A, Grieco A. Impact of Gut Microbiota on Obesity, Diabetes, and Cardiovascular Disease Risk. Curr Cardiol Rep. 2015 Dec;17(12):120. Review. PubMed PMID: 26497040. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26497040

[7] Koeth RA, et al. Intestinal microbiota metabolism of L-carnitine, a nutrient in red meat, promotes atherosclerosis. Nat Med. 2013 May;19(5):576-85. PubMed PMID: 23563705. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=23563705

[8] Wang Z, Klipfell E, Bennett BJ, et al. Gut flora metabolism of phosphatidylcholine promotes cardiovascular disease. Nature. 2011 Apr 7;472(7341):57-63. PubMed PMID: 21475195. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=21475195

[9] Quach D, Britton RA. Gut Microbiota and Bone Health. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2017;1033:47-58. Review. PubMed PMID: 29101651. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29101651


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