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May 04, 2020 10 min read
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When talking about the microbiome, many could get the impression that we’re strictly referring to the digestive system. Though once you start exploring the topic a bit further, you’ll find that the microbiome encompasses much more than just gut health alone. The microbiome also referred to as the microbiota, consists of all the microbes in the human body which happen to influence a number of health and well-being aspects stretching far beyond digestion alone.
Why has the microbiome gained so much notoriety recently? From Rhonda Patrick’s research to the acclaimed Institute for Microbiome Research in Israel, we seem to have become obsessed. Today we’re diving deep into the science behind this phenomena, accessing both the importance of the microbiome and the ways to keep it healthy through optimized nutrition with non-GMO Grass-Fed Beef Gelatin.
The microbiome, or the bacteria forming it - to be exact - are considered essential for three main aspects of human health: immunity, development, and nutrition. Even though the term bacteriamay trigger a negative connotation, in this case, we’re talking about the so-called good, beneficial bacteria that have an important role in food digestion, immune system regulation, our protective barriers, as well as the production of vitamins including vitamin B12, riboflavin, thiamine, and vitamin K.
Contrary to popular belief, the microbiome inhabitants do not reside strictly in the gut, as they can also be found in other body parts, including the skin. However, the biggest concentration of the microbiota cells, fungi, viruses, and bacteria is located precisely in the gut. The microbiome represents the genetic material of microbial cells which are innate, but certainly not unchangeable (which will be further discussed later on). Even though the microbiome is of equal importance for every individual, according to a gut microbiota review by S. Sethi, each of us has a unique mix of microbiota components.
When it comes to the population of the microbiome, the numbers are astonishing, to say the least. In every single human microbiome, there are between 10 trillion to 100 trillion microbial cells in symbiosis which is beneficial for both the microbes and the host. What’s more, there are possibly over 1000 different species of microorganisms inhabiting a single microbiome.
According to the aforementioned review, gut microbes play a pivotal role in nutrient uptake by aiding the process of dissolving the complex molecules in food. Without the assistance of the gut microbes, we would not be able to digest plants, as their cellulose would be indigestible. While on the topic of digestion, it is important to mention that microbes also appear to aid in the generation of important byproducts from dietary components that are left unprocessed by the small intestine. Namely, a study on the influence of diet on gut microbiome suggests that microbiomes generate short-chain fatty acid byproducts which have been found to strengthen the mucosal barrier.
Furthermore, a disbalance in the microbiome has been associated with the development of nutrition-related conditions such as obesity. A study conducted by L. Vitetta and colleagues suggests that a disbalance in microbes accompanied by a high-fat diet has been shown to contribute to the possible development of obesity and insulin resistance through inflammatory changes in the gut. What’s more, an imbalanced diet and excessive consumption of food have been linked to a pro-inflammatory bacterial reaction which may trigger gut metabolic dysfunction.
Another crucial aspect of health affected by the state of the microbiome is immunity, which stands as a barrier between the body and the outside world. We start developing our microbiome from the very moment we’re born, accepting the first microbial visitors that help us form our adaptive immunity. The adaptive immunity plays a vital role as a defensive mechanism which allows us to recognize the microbes and respond adequately. What’s more, a lack of exposure to microbes early on in life has been found to potentially contribute to the development of allergies and certain autoimmune conditions.
Moreover, according to a study conducted by R. K. Singh and colleagues, a balanced microbiota has been shown to promote intestinal immunity through various mechanisms. These powerful mechanisms include toll-like receptor (TLR) expression, T cells differentiation, antigen-presenting cells, as well as affecting systemic immunity through antibody expression.
The gut-brain axis has been a rather intriguing topic in nutrition, as well as psychology, for quite some time. According to a study by M. Clapp et al., there is bidirectional communication between the gut microbiota and the central nervous system. In addition, the mentioned study suggests that a number of mental health issues have been linked to disbalance in the gut microbiota, manifested through inflammation and dysbiosis. That being said, restoring the balance of the gut flora has been shown to exhibit great potential when it comes to managing mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.
This strong relationship between the gut and the brain is based on the codependence between the microbiota and the central nervous system (CNS). The aforementioned study suggests that a healthy gut has been linked to various CNS functions, including sending signals to the brain via hormones and neurotransmitters.
Issues regarding the content of the gut microbiome have been noted in numerous health conditions, including type 2 diabetes. A study on the influence of diet on the gut microbiome recognizes specific diabetes-related markers in the microbiota of the patients, such as an increased membrane transport of sugar and branched-chain amino acids.
Moreover, the same study indicates that there’s a significant relationship between the gut bacteria-influenced production of certain elements and Alzheimer's disease. Namely, the gut bacteria has been found to promote the production of amyloid and lipopolysaccharides, which have been recognized as the key factors in the pathogenesis of the mentioned disease. In addition, low microbial diversity has also been associated with numerous gastrointestinal conditions, including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), ulcerative colitis, as well as Crohn’s disease.
Besides the famous gut-brain axis, some scientists argue that there could also be a gut-liver axis, as there is evidence on the impact of the gut microbiota on liver physiology. A review by L. Vitetta and colleagues suggests that gut microbiota may act as a cofactor in chronic liver disease, due to its inflammation-managing activity. What’s more, the gut microbiota has also been recognized as a “central regulator” for the functioning of end organs including muscle, adipose tissue, and kidney.
An earlier mentioned study on the influence of diet on the microbiome and its implications on health emphasized an important fact about the microbiota system and its complex functioning. Namely, aside from the microbes impacting multiple aspects of health, there is also the possibility of optimizing the gut microbial dynamics in return - by employing certain lifestyle changes and dietary choices.
How soon can dietary alterations induce a notable change in the microbiome? According to the above-mentioned study, a significant temporary alteration may occur in just 24 hours, which goes to show just how impactful of a strategy adjusting diet can be.
According to a review of the foods beneficial for a healthy gut microbiome, there is a strong association between certain dietary patterns and healthy bacterial composition of the microbiome. As well, these dietary patterns have demonstrated great potential when it comes to managing the aforementioned microbiome-related conditions, including IBS, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disorder. Foods which have been shown to contribute to a healthy gut ecosystem include vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, which have higher levels of anti-inflammatory bacteria. Further, a study performed by L. Bolte et al. finds diet to be highly effective when it comes to modulating the gut microbiome and managing its disorders.
Gelatin is essentially a collagen derivative formed from gelatine and tannic acid, and it has remarkable potential when it comes to overall gut health, gut mucus integrity, and of course - microbiota composition. Abundant dietary sources of gelatin include animal skin, bones, and cartilage which aren’t particularly favorite menu picks for many people. It is precisely due to the convenience of use and versatility it offers, as well as the amount of pure protein it contains, that all-natural Beef Gelatin is a favorable alternative among dietary sources of gelatin.
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As a generous collagen protein source, when combined with vitamin C supplementation, gelatin has been found to boost collagen synthesis and promote the repair of tissues, especially in athletes, a study by G. Shaw and colleagues finds. Furthermore, collagen has been very much present in the skincare niche, as it has been provento enhance facial skin elasticity and moisture, while significantly reducing the visible signs of aging, including wrinkling. Also, fat-free Gelatin has been shown to exhibit strong anti-inflammatory properties, especially in cases of joint disorders such as osteoarthritis. In addition, supplementing with all-natural Beef Gelatin as a rich source of pure collagen has been linked to improvement in bone structure, sleep quality, as well as the appearance and overall health of nails and hair.
When it comes to gut health, gelatin has been found to promote gut barrier structure and function, aid in recovering the intestinal permeability and mucus layer integrity, as well as to modulate the microbiota structure. And what really makes gelatin pivotal in gut health and microbiota balance is its protective activity - so powerful that it has been found to aid in intestinal homeostasis recovery after an acute injury, a study on gelatin tannate states.
The gastrointestinal tract (GI) is one of the largest sites exposed to outside environmental influences, which makes the role of the gut barrier even more pronounced. The gut barrier represents a complex system consisting of two individual parts working simultaneously: the functional inner barrier differentiating the pathogens and needed microorganisms, and the outer physical barrier. In addition, the gut microbiotaforms a vital part of the gut barrier, being involved in the immune stimulation, synthesis, and metabolism of nutrients. In case the gut barrier is compromised, the luminal contents of the gut end up in the bloodstream, triggering an immune response and gut inflammation - which is the basis of numerous GI conditions.
Gelatin supplementation has been found to promote the functions of gelatin tannate, which acts as a protective film preserving the gut composition in the event of damaging activity of commensal bacteria. Besides supporting the function of the gut barrier, gelatin tannate has also been shown to demonstrate an indirect anti-inflammatory effect, a study on gelatin tannate and probiotics suggests. In addition to these significant roles, gelatin also appears to manage the microflora composition, restore the mucus layer, and activate the immune response.
As well, a study conducted by G. Samonina et al. suggests that food gelatin supplements may preserve the quality of the gastric mucosa by aiding in the repair of its damages. This renovating ability of gelatin lies in its glyproline fragments which have been shown to promote gastric mucosal integrity, but also combat numerous ulcerogenic factors. Moreover, a study on the promising effect of type I collagen (very much present in gelatin) suggests that supplementing with a type I collagen-enriched supplement seems to have a pronounced role in mucosal healing and regeneration in ulcerative colitis.
Keeping in mind that the microbiome has such a significant role in our overall health and well-being, it is only natural for us to look into ways to support its multi-layered functions. The most effective influence to restore or/and maintain the gut flora balance appears to be through our dietary choices, which is exactly what we’ve tried to emphasize with this article. By optimizing our nutrition and nourishing the gut with adequate nutrients such as Grass-Fed Beef Gelatin, we are supporting not only the immense role of the gut, but a wide range of closely related functions, as well. For more all-natural premium-quality supplements, make sure to check out our full selection of products.
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