Mike Bundrant is co-founder of the iNLP Center.
According to a new report, the bacteria in our digestive system may indeed play a particularly active role in determining our food choices. Active bacteria outweigh human cells by 100 to 1, and researchers have discovered that humans have a self-sustaining eco-system for bacterium within our bodies. That means, when you are craving foods that are not good for you, it could be the bacteria that needs to be nourished.
Teams of researchers from UC San Francisco, Arizona State University and University of New Mexico have delved into the subject of microbes, examining the evidence that eating habits are directly influenced by hungry bacterium. The conclusion of this intense study was published in the BioEssays journal and gives new insight into why many people have trouble maintaining good diet choices.
Understanding how the microbes within the body work to influence an individual’s eating choices could be a great development when it comes to controlling unnecessary weight gain and obesity. The body requires bacteria for digestion of food, but not all bacterium is beneficial.
Fortunately, researchers have discovered that the eco-system that microbes live in can be readily manipulated by deliberate and conscious changes in dietary intake. Probiotics, for example, encourage the growth of good bacteria and help starve out the unwanted or damaging bacteria.
Since some bacteria need extra fat or sugary foods to thrive, eliminating these substances can have a dramatic effect in as little as a 24-hour period.
That means that those who find themselves constantly in need of unhealthy choices can change their own cravings.
Carlo Maley, Ph. D. and Director of the UC San Francisco Center for Evolution and Cancer, points out that while some bacteria is destructive, other bacteria living in the community of microbes, have nourishment needs that complement a person’s healthy dietary needs as well.
Microbes have an impact on a person’s overall health, immune system as well as mood and behavior patterns. This is due to vagus nerve, which connects the digestive tract to the base of the brain. Microbes can release mood-altering signals in a reward and punishment type of system. When the bacteria is being deprived of what it craves, it sends a signal that leaves a person feeling bad, but when the right food is ingested, the person’s mood is elevated.
More research is underway to comprehend how this tiny eco-system within the human body works. However, there is strong evidence that uncovering the mystery behind this influential bacterium will affect dietary problems such as obesity, mood disorders and even quell the advance of certain cancers that thrive on specific bacteria.