In my advanced metabolism II class we had to read and write a synopsis on an article about vitamin synthesizing bacteria. It was mostly about lactic acid bacteria and Bifidobacteria that make B vitamins (such as folate, riboflavin, B12) in our (and other mammals) gut. The article poses a question on how adding these bacteria to foods may help with the natural vitamins in the foods. I also had to find a few other articles that supported or expanded on the topic. One went further on the lactic acid bacteria and how it's possible to engineer the gene in one Lactobacillus to make it produce more of the gene that activates the enzyme needed to produce folate. More gene= more enzyme= more folate. Good for under developed countries or those who have severe vitamin deficiency (except for the whole gene modification thing, I suppose there could be possible drawbacks).
Anyway as we discussed our research in class we also touched on how when bacteria colonization begins at birth (before birth the gut is sterile, mom's bacteria doesn't cross the placenta). In vaginal birth, especially (c-section babies get different bacteria and have to wait longer to build up their colonies), these healthy bacteria build up the natural defense and set the groundwork for the bacteria (lactic acid bacteria, Bifidobacteria, bacteroides) that we want there to produce vitamins and help with digestion.
The professor mentioned fecal transplant (sounds gross I know) and how transplants from skinny mice to fat mice made the fat mice lose weight and vice versa. I did some research this morning and found similar studies. I also found some studies/articles where a diet high in fiber/whole grains and low fat helped increase good bacteria and decreased bacteria that produced harmful metabolites. It also helped rebuild the natural defense that we grew as babies but lose when we eat the typical American diet.
A great article I found was on motherjones.com. It is called "Are Happy Gut Bacteria Key to Weight Loss" just click on the link to read it. It's long but an interesting read. It starts with saying how orange juice helped with blocking an inflammatory response to eating McDonald's meals. Which is more likely the vitamin C doing it's anti-oxidant job, but still an idea for that occasional junk meal. Just order a drink or food high in fiber and vitamin C to consume before or with the meal to help counteract the bad stuff.
The article also says foods high in oligosaccharides (and I think it mentions polysaccharides)may help with helping good bacteria health, but then if you have to follow a FODMAPs diet you may be screwed. Well maybe not, just follow the FODMAPs protocol given by your dietitian and when you start adding foods back, hopefully some of the those won't affect you so you can feed your bacteria.
My takeaway from this, as I'm trying to incorporate things I learn into my own healthy lifestyle, is that one should make sure to eat less sugar, less fatty foods, more whole grains, more veggies, foods high in anti-oxidants (vitamins C, A and E...however I don't recommend taking supplements(especially A since you can have too much), just make sure your eating your fruits and veggies and you're good). I'm going to try and make meal plans based on what I learn and see how it all goes.
Have a great weekend dear readers.