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How Your Gut Flora Influences Your Health

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A new study in the journal Nutrition in Clinical Practice shows that microorganisms in the human gastrointestinal tract form an intricate, living fabric of natural controls affecting body weight, energy, and nutrition. The findings may offer new ideas on how to treat nutrition-related maladies, including obesity and a range of serious health consequences linked to under-nutrition, the scientists said.

An article in Science Daily reported on the featured findings, stating:

 "The microbes in the human gut belong to three broad domains, defined by their molecular phylogeny: Eukarya, Bacteria, and Achaea. Of these, bacteria reign supreme, with two dominant divisions -- known as Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes -- making up over 90 percent of the gut's microbial population... Within the bacterial categories... enormous diversity exists.

 Each individual's community of gut microbes is unique and profoundly sensitive to environmental conditions, beginning at birth. Indeed, the mode of delivery during the birthing process has been shown to affect an infant's microbial profile. Communities of vaginal microbes change during pregnancy in preparation for birth, delivering beneficial microbes to the newborn.

 At the time of delivery, the vagina is dominated by a pair of bacterial species, Lactobacillus and Prevotella. In contrast, infants delivered by caesarean section typically show microbial communities associated with the skin, including Staphylococcus, Corynebacterium, and Propionibacterium.

 While the full implications of these distinctions are still murky, evidence suggests they may affect an infant's subsequent development and health, particularly in terms of susceptibility to pathogens." 


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