05 Apr The relationship between Gut Microbiota and Ulcerative Colitis
From the 17th century, when microbes were discovered until today, science has studied especially these small organisms as well as their interaction with humans. The human intestinal microbiome is a complex ecosystem, made up of microbes, that are found in the human intestine. It is estimated that about 400-500 different genera of microbes make up the intestinal microflora.
It is worth noting that in the human digestive system live about 100 trillion bacteria, a number ten times larger than the total number of cells in our body. These microbes, which reproduce in the gut, interact both with each other and with the human immune system, thus contributing to the homeostasis of the organism, namely the ability to stabilize the internal environment, despite any external interference.
The beneficial functions of the Intestinal Microbiome in the human body
Recent scientific findings have highlighted a host of intestinal microbiome functions. More specifically, the intestinal microbiome contributes to the regulation of the immune system, it helps to the production of vitamins and neurotransmitters and it maintains the integrity of the intestine. It is clear, then, the importance of the intestinal microbiome in maintaining the proper function of the body. For this reason, the human intestine is also referred to as the “Second Brain”.
What most of us do not know is that, in fact, 80% -85% of our immune system is based on the gut microbiome. A healthy gastrointestinal system serves as a barrier, which prevents pathogenic microbes, toxins and other unwanted substances from entering the body through the blood.
There is a constant interaction between these bacteria and the host. On the one hand, the host provides the gastrointestinal tract bacteria with a place to grow and survive, through the intake of various nutrients in food. Bacteria, on the other hand, assist in the defense of the human body and facilitate the absorption of digested foods, thus helping the body.
Gut Microbiome Disorders and Ulcerative Colitis
Hippocrates had pointed out that poor digestion is the root of all suffering. His claim, then, which supports the view that everything starts from the gut, proves to be correct.
Ulcerative Colitis is an Inflammatory Bowel disease that causes inflammation and ulcers on the inner surface, in the mucosa of the colon, and has been associated with disruption of the intestinal microbiome.
It is the most common type of inflammatory bowel disease, in which inflammation leads to destruction of mucosal cells, resulting in bleeding, pus and small sores (ulcers). At the same time, inflammation results in the appearance of diarrhea, due to the more frequent bowel movements.
Multiple studies demonstrate changes in the composition of the intestinal microbiome of patients with Ulcerative Colitis. On the one hand, the microflora of the intestinal tract is characterized by reduced diversity and on the other hand the number of microbes that adhere to the mucus increases.
Therapeutic Approaches and Advanced Studies
Nowadays, there are treatments that help restore the intestinal microbiome. This is achieved, mainly, through the observance of a therapeutic diet, which consists, among other things, in taking probiotics and prebiotics. We should note at this point that only through specialized diagnostic tests, can it be determined which types of microbes in the intestinal microbiome are missing from the body and thus need to be replenished. Only through a targeted restoration of normal bowel function the absorption of nutrients, which benefit the human body, can be improved.
Until now, the science of Medicine and Biology relied on formulating hypotheses and verifying them through the process of experiments. However, advanced diagnostic methods, previously only available in University Clinics, can now carry out an in-depth study of the human microbiome.
The results of these innovative diagnostic tests provide important information about the condition and quality of the intestinal microbiome and, in combination with the results of hematological / biochemical tests, they can contribute to the formation of a treatment that will aim towards the restoration of the intestinal microbiome and at a later stage the treatment of Ulcerative Colitis. Patients with Ulcerative Colitis should follow such a personalized approach based on solid scientific data, as it can provide the maximum benefits for the human body and prevent any indiscriminate and reckless intake of medicine and parapharmaceuticals.
Dr. Nikoleta Koini, M.D.
Doctor of Functional, Preventive, Anti-ageing and Restorative Medicine.
Diplomate and Board Certified in Anti-aging, Preventive, Functional and Regenerative Medicine from A4M (American Academy in Antiaging Medicine).
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