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Your Microbiome and Your Health

by previlli

8 Ways Your Microbiota Can Help – or Hurt – You

How unseen microorganisms affect your health

Previlli is a completely new approach to gut health. This unique supplement provides two prebiotics (PreticX™ and PreforPro®), a polyphenol blend, and fermented superfoods to feed your beneficial bacteria. It also includes gut-building nucleotides, lumen-enhancing polyphenols, advanced plant peptides, an organic mineral complex and vitamin D to reinforce the structures of your gut, making it a happy, healthy place to be.
 
Many factors contribute to your state of health — the genetic hand you were dealt, how well you eat, how much sleep and exercise you get, how well you cope with the inevitable stress of life, how polluted your neighborhood is, whether you smoke or abuse alcohol. Some of these factors are easy to see, others not so much. 
 
Unless you take a genetic test, it can be hard to know everything in your genome. But guess what may be even more important than your own personalized collection of genes — the collective genes of your gut bacteria, also known as the gut microbiome. Believe it or not, your microbiome contains 150 times the genes of your own cells! And those microorganisms play an outsize role in your well-being beyond just your gut health. Just look what they have on their plates.

Microbiota Task #1: Digestion

Digestion and elimination are the most obvious functions of your gastrointestinal tract. So it’s no surprise that the tens of trillions of microbes that live in your intestines have those processes at the top of their to-do list. 
 
Bacteria in your gut ferment starch, sugars, and mucins (a kind of protein) into short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which your body uses to produce energy. At the end of the digestive process, your gut bacteria (also known as gut flora) break down any residue of carbohydrates and proteins that have not been completely digested so they can be eliminated. They also synthesize vitamins that are critical to your well-being, such as most of the B vitamins, as well as vitamin K. 
 
At least, that’s what happens when everything is running like a well-oiled machine. When your gut bacteria are out of balance, one of the telltale signs is digestive difficulties, such as constipation, diarrhea, or painful bowel issues.

Microbiota Task #2: Immune Support

Most of your immune cells — a whopping 70 to 80 percent — can be found in your gut.¹ Nature designed it that way, because your gut is continually bombarded by material from the outside world (thanks to all that eating and drinking you do). Where better to station most of your immune cells than right where the greatest number of threats are found? Your immune cells don’t work alone, though. They’re in cahoots with your beneficial gut bacteria, acting as partners to defend you. 
 
It works like this. A key part of your immune system’s job is to recognize the difference between helpful and harmful bacteria. That way, it can spare the good guys when it needs to mount an attack on the bad actors. Your gut bacteria are like little spies inside you. They produce chemical messengers called cytokines that help your immune cells communicate with each other. That way, they all know who’s an ally and who’s an enemy.
 
On the flip side, gut bacteria can also cause your immune system to go haywire. That happens if your gut lining — which should act as a barrier between your gut and your blood — becomes too permeable and bacteria escape. Then, they wreak havoc simply by being in the wrong place, because they trigger your immune system to go on the defensive and ramp up an inflammatory response. Why does that matter? Read on.

Microbiota Task #3: Inflammation Control

Inflammation gets a bad rap, but it’s a healthy — and crucial — short-term response of the immune system to a threat. The problem is when it becomes chronic; untampered, on-going inflammation is linked to a wide variety of ailments. 
 
Beneficial gut bacteria can help here too. Some strains have been shown to regulate the activity of both pro- and anti-inflammatory compounds, helping your body strike just the right balance. Additionally, the SCFAs that gut bacteria produce during digestion help regulate immunity and inflammation.
 
The bad news is that some gut bacteria can also contribute to chronic inflammation. Strains that thrive when you eat a high-fat diet may cause intestinal inflammation, which is closely linked to difficulties with blood sugar regulation and metabolism. 
 
Furthermore, when bacteria stray through a permeable gut barrier, they can cause inflammation all throughout the body, which can affect your heart, your skin, your respiratory system and your overall health. It’s like when your basement floods. Water that stays in your pipes is fine. But water that goes where it doesn’t belong can cause all kinds of damage.

Microbiota Task #4: Bacterial Balance

By now, you’ve grasped that there are good bacteria to have in your digestive tract and not-so-good ones. You don’t need to have solely beneficial strains for gut health, though. If the heroes outnumber the scoundrels by enough, they can keep the harmful bacteria under control. 
 
Many scientists think 85 percent good guys is plenty.² The problem is, not everyone maintains that balance. When you have too many harmful bacteria in your system, or not enough diversity — the good guys have different jobs so you need a mix — it’s called dysbiosis (“dys” meaning “bad” or “difficult,” and “biosis” meaning “way of living”).
 
Dysbiosis can take a toll on nearly every system in your body, whether it’s your digestive, respiratory, nervous, metabolic, or cardiovascular system. Two common causes are overuse of antibiotics and a poor diet, especially one without enough fiber from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. (We’re looking at you, keto.) If your gut is not sufficiently colonized by good bacteria, it leaves room for the bad ones to get a foot in the door. That’s why feeding your beneficial bacteria is one of the best ways to keep your gut in balance.       

Microbiota Task #5: Communication with the Brain

Have you ever said you have a gut feeling? That shows you intuited the link between your gut and your brain. This connection is called the gut-brain axis — a two-way information highway that allows your GI tract to communicate with your central nervous system. 
 
Gut-brain communication takes place through several mechanisms, all of which involve your gut microbiota:
  • Through your nerves, mainly the vagus nerve, which runs from your brainstem to your stomach. Fibers from the vagus nerve are present in your gut, where they receive signals from your gut microbiota.
  • Through your immune cells. Your gut bacteria can trigger your immune cells to release chemical messengers into your blood that directly affect your brain function.³ When there is a large change in the composition of your microbiota, your immune cells can let the brain know through vagus nerve stimulation, much the way your credit card company might send you a text to alert you to suspicious account activity.⁴
  • Through your hormones and neurotransmitters. Your gut microbes produce neurotransmitters that affect your cognition and mood, as well as hormones that regulate your physiology and behavior. That’s why having a healthy balance of gut bacteria helps you think clearly, while dysbiosis can lead to brain fog and low mood.

Microbiota Task #6: Hormone Production

Just as most of your immune system lives in your gut, most of your endocrine (hormone) system does too, in the form of enteroendocrine cells. Scattered throughout the length of your GI tract, these cells make hormones that regulate the processes of digestion and elimination and help increase or decrease your appetite. And just like your immune cells, your enteroendocrine cells don’t act alone. 
 
In addition to their many other tasks, your gut bacteria have a hand in hormone production too, affecting everything from the stress hormone cortisol to sex hormones like testosterone and estrogen. A healthy community of gut bacteria can help ensure you produce just the right amount of hormones you need, not too much and not too little. Dysbiosis can upset that well-calibrated balance.

Microbiota Task #7: Allergy Prevention

Allergies are a simple case of mistaken identity. Your body perceives something harmless — say, peanuts — and mistakes them for something harmful. This triggers a full-blown immune attack, even though your body is not actually in any danger (except from the allergic reaction itself). 
 
As is the case with many health conditions, your gut bacteria can help or hurt when it comes to allergies. When things are going well in your gut, microbes help by fermenting allergenic compounds into SCFAs. Voila — no reaction. That’s probably why scientists have found when people don’t have enough diversity in their gut bacteria, they are more likely to suffer from allergies. 
 
But when the surface of your gut becomes permeable and bacteria escape into parts of your body where they don’t belong, your immune system goes on high alert. One result, as you now know, is inflammation. But gut permeability can also cause your immune cells to overreact to harmless compounds in the food you eat, leading to allergies and food sensitivities.

Microbiota Task #8: Weight Management

If you struggle with your weight, you’re not alone. About two-thirds of American adults are carrying some extra pounds. One thing they may have in common is the composition of their gut microbiota. A Danish study found that people with more microbial diversity were, on average, leaner and more likely to have healthy blood sugar and cholesterol levels.⁵ It seems having a thriving community of beneficial bacteria is good for many facets of your metabolic health. 
 
In the same study, researchers found that individuals with greater bacterial diversity also had a higher percentage of strains associated with inflammation control. This makes sense, as intestinal inflammation is linked to both being overweight and having high blood sugar.⁶

What You Can Do

The good news is your gut microbiota can improve your health in all eight of the above areas…if it stays in balance. All it needs from you is a little TLC. 
 
The first thing step for a healthy gut microbiome is to feed your gut bacteria. The fiber found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is what they really like. Oats, garlic, onions, asparagus, spinach, artichokes, peas, beans, and bananas are among their favorites. And luckily, fruits and vegetables are also high in polyphenols, another one of your good gut bacteria’s favorite foods. 
 
Getting enough exercise and sleep, spending time outdoors, and managing your stress levels can also keep your gut bacteria in balance. So can limiting alcohol and sugar and quitting smoking. Did you notice those are all the classic good health recommendations? That’s no coincidence. Taking care of yourself and taking care of your gut microbiome go hand in hand.
Previlli is a completely new approach to gut health. This unique supplement provides two prebiotics (PreticX™ and PreforPro®), a polyphenol blend, and fermented superfoods to feed your beneficial bacteria. It also includes gut-building nucleotides, lumen-enhancing polyphenols, advanced plant peptides, an organic mineral complex and vitamin D to reinforce the structures of your gut, making it a happy, healthy place to be.
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