The science of the gut keeps getting more and more impressive (and a bit more complicated!). In the past I’ve concentrated on the enormous number of species of bacteria we have found in the gut. The number may be over 2000 species. What we have learned in a short time is that the balance of good vs bad bacteria species makes a world of difference in how the colon health organ functions. If you have too many bad species, the colon no longer functions as a health organ. One consequence of this imbalance is that the wall of the colon becomes leaky and allows a number of substances to leak through into the blood stream.
The second major thing that we now know that happens is that normally there are over 300 known metabolites made in the colon by the huge numbers of bacterial species. So think about this-over 2000 different species of bacteria which make at least 300 and likely over 1000 different chemicals or what we call metabolites. Some, if not a lot of these, may slip into the blood stream if you have a leaky gut.
This month a friend of mine, Dominic Raj MD, from the George Washington University, published an article (link below) that points out how this above mechanism may work to the detriment of patients with chronic kidney disease and those on hemodialysis. These patients make some nasty metabolite toxins in their colon called creosyl and indoxyl. They suspect that using prebiotics may shift the bacterial balance in these patients in a favorable way and so reduce these toxins. They are pushing for more research in this area. The bottom line for those of us without kidney disease is that a diet high in prebiotics will push the colon balance in a good way, correct a leaky gut and prevent the absorption of many of these toxins. For those who want to get a prebiotic supplement which I take myself twice a day, you can order prebiotics from our online store.
Best wishes for a healthy gut and you.
Frank Jackson MD
Jackson GI Medical