These days it seems that every other person has high cholesterol, high triglycerides, fatty liver disease or is overweight. Many have combinations of these problems and are constantly on medications to try to control runaway cholesterol or triglycerides. Statin drugs, used to lower cholesterol, are plagued with serious side effects that keep many people from using them. Fatty liver disease results when the body does not manage the metabolism of fats properly and fats accumulate in the liver instead.
Why does the body sometimes do such a poor job of managing these factors? The answer may surprise you! Our human bodies do not function well at all without the population of symbiotic bacteria that live in the intestines. A recent research study showed that gut bacteria produce bile salts that help control host functions. Bile salts are used as a messenger in a “microbe-host dialog” to normalize the metabolism of fats. The bacteria are therefore able to control:
-Fat (lipid) metabolism of the host
-Circadian rhythms (when you naturally wake or sleep, and how much)
This is an example of the holobiont concept at work; the host does not function normally at all without the symbiont organisms. What are the factors that promote healthy gut bacteria? What are the factors that are harmful to gut bacteria? What do we need to do in order to grow healthy gut bacteria? These are just some of the questions that will be answered in The Symbiont Factor, due to be published next month!
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