The article Microbiome Diet, published in the newspaper "All about Health" on 4-11-2015. Microbiome Diet. Lose weight forever! Have you ever wondered how an examination of the intestinal microbiota can give us important information that leads to definitive solutions for proper nutrition and weight control?
What is the microbiome?
The intestinal microbiome or normal intestinal flora includes small populations of microorganisms that live and grow in our gastrointestinal tract. These bacteria can help the digestion of the foods we eat, control our appetite, regulate our metabolism, direct our immune system, affect our mood, and even determine the expression of our genes. The microbiome has a significant effect on whether our heart is healthy, whether our bones are developing properly and whether our brain is functioning clearly or "in a fog". These "good microbes" ensure that our body absorbs all the necessary nutrients from food while at the same time they produce vital vitamins for our body. They can even produce natural antibiotics. But the most amazing fact is that these non-human organisms consist the 90% of the cells in our body and their DNA is 100 times more than ours!
How does the microbiome affect our body weight?
First of all, the microbiome controls our digestive system by determining how many calories will be used from the food we eat. Some bacteria extract more energy from food than others. This is one of the reasons why one person gains weight easily while another who consumes the same foods does not. The difference in the microbiome between an obese and a lean person, results in an additional intake of 150 kcal per day (7 kg per year), from the same diet!
Overeating and obesity are caused by an imbalance in the processes that regulate food intake, ie the feelings of "hunger", "appetite" and "satiety". There are various hormones produced in the gut that transmit signals of hunger or satiety to the brain (cholecystokinin, GLP-1, YY peptide, ghrelin). Recent studies show that the microbiome and certain substances produced by it directly affect the intestinal hormones, thus regulating hunger, appetite, and satiety.
Another way that the microbiome affects our weight is through chronic, low-grade inflammation, which is caused by the entry of intestinal microbes (or even certain parts of them, such as lipopolysaccharides from their cell wall) into the bloodstream. This in turn can lead to insulin resistance, diabetes, atherosclerosis, and obesity.
What other pathological conditions are involved in microbiome disorders?
Over the last 10 years, a great deal of scientific data has emerged from both human observations and experimental studies of intestinal microbiome disorders and their association with a wide variety of diseases. Such diseases are celiac disease, ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, irritable bowel syndrome (spastic colitis), colorectal cancer, small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), leaky gut syndrome, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and cholelithiasis.
Intestinal microbiome disorders have also been associated with manifestations outside the gastrointestinal tract such as obesity, type I & II diabetes, metabolic syndrome, multiple allergic reactions (eczema, rhinitis, asthma, food allergies or intolerance), but also psoriasis, atherosclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and other autoimmune diseases, osteoarthritis and other arthritis, fibromyalgia as well as various neurological syndromes such as autism, depression, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson's disease.
How do we examine the state of our intestinal microbiome?
The EnteroScan® that we have created at Diagnostiki Athinon, is a pioneering combination of laboratory tests, which provides valuable information about the health of a patient’s intestine. There are combinations of tests to diagnose and monitor specific pathological conditions, such as EnteroScan® IBS/IBD (examination for Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Inflammatory Bowel Disease) and EnteroScan® Weight Control, which analyzes normal intestinal flora and important factors of intestinal function. Based on the results of the EnteroScan® tests or other tests such as TrophoScan® (food intolerance test), individual history, and clinical examination, the appropriate diet is planned, which aims to restore the microbiome and the digestion and absorption in the gastrointestinal tract, in balance.
Integrated microbiome therapy (ie treatment of diseased microbial flora) in addition to dietary changes may include the use of appropriate probiotics and prebiotics, dietary supplements, superfoods, and herbal remedies, lifestyle changes, and the use of antimicrobials or antifungal substances in special cases.