Medicine News

Good bacteria can boost gut health and lower your risk of developing colitis

Balance is the key to a healthy body. Consuming too few healthy foods or too many high-fat junk foods can jeopardize your health and increase your risk of developing serious diseases. To counteract these, researchers from Kyung Hee University in South Korea suggest using probiotics. Their study, published in the journal Nutrition Research, demonstrates the efficacy of probiotics in improving high-fat diet-induced colitis in mice by inhibiting NF-KB activation and lipopolysaccharide production by gut microbiota.

A balanced gut flora is essential for the regulation of human metabolism. Prolonged consumption of a high-fat diet (HFD) increases the Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes ratio and the production of lipopolysaccharides (LPS) by gut microbiota. These events increase a person’s risk of developing metabolic and immune disorders, such as obesity and colitis.

The researchers tested the probiotic Bifidobacterium adolescentis IM38 to determine if it has an anti-colitic effect on mice with HFD-induced obesity. They found that B. adolescentis IM38 could inhibit nuclear factor–kappa B (NF-KB) activation in Caco-2 cells and peritoneal macrophages. It could also inhibit Escherichia coli LPS production.

The researchers gave the mice IM38 (2 x 109 colony-forming unit (CFU)/mouse per day) orally for six weeks and observed the following outcomes:

  • IM38 inhibited whole-body and epididymal fat weight gain.
  • IM38 increased HFD-suppressed expression of interleukin (IL)-10 and tight junction proteins.
  • IM38 downregulated HFD-induced NF-KB activation and tumor necrosis factor expression in the colon.
  • IM38 inhibited differentiation into helper T17 cells and reduced IL-17 levels in the colon.
  • IM38 increased HFD-suppressed differentiation into regulatory T cells and IL-10 levels.
  • IM38 decreased HFD-induced LPS levels in blood and colonic fluid, as well as the Proteobacteria to Bacteroidetes ratio in gut flora.

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Based on these results, the researchers concluded that the probiotic IM38 could attenuate colitis by inhibiting HFD-induced LPS production in gut flora. This is through the regulation of Proteobacteria to Bacteroidetes ratio and NF-KB activation in the colon. They also said that IM38 may be a suitable ingredient of functional foods designed for treating or preventing colitis.

Best foods for colitis and overall health

Probiotics, which include bacteria and yeast, are beneficial microorganisms that support the immune system. Some people take probiotics to enhance the digestive bacteria in their gut.

Many probiotic foods are made through fermentation. Fermentation provides bacteria the perfect environment to grow and thrive. In ancient times, fermentation was used to prevent food spoilage.

If you are just starting to include probiotic foods in your diet, it is recommended that you consume them gradually. Probiotic foods can cause gastrointestinal distress if you go from zero to 60 too quickly. Here are some of the best probiotic foods that can manage colitis and support your overall health:

  • Sauerkraut – Made from cabbage and salt, this fermented food delivers a healthy dose of probiotics and fiber. This classic lacto-fermented sandwich topper is also a great source of immune-boosting vitamin C and bone-building vitamin K.
  • Kimchi – This spicy dish is made by fermenting cabbage with probiotic lactic acid bacteria. Eating kimchi aids in weight loss, reduces the risk of metabolic syndrome, and reduces inflammation.
  • Kefir — Kefir is a fermented milk drink full of calcium and probiotics. Just like yogurt, probiotics in kefir help break down lactose, so it may be easier to digest for people with lactose intolerance. It is typically made by fermenting milk using kefir grains. It contains B vitamins, vitamin K2, and tryptophan, an essential amino acid that is a precursor to mood-stabilizing serotonin. Kefir is delicious when added to smoothies or consumed by itself. Always go for a plain, unsweetened kefir or you can flavor it with a few dashes of cinnamon. You can also blend it up with some berries.
  • Kombucha – Kombucha is a tangy, fizzy drink made of black or green tea. It is rich in health-friendly yeast and bacteria. Kombucha is often flavored with herbs or fruit. Research suggests that components of kombucha, like the polyphenol compounds found in tea, offer many health benefits, including reduced cholesterol and blood sugar levels, reduced risk of certain cancers, and improved liver and gastrointestinal functions.
  • Miso – A fermented paste made from barley, rice, or soybeans, miso adds an umami flavor to dishes. Take note that miso is high in sodium and has a rich taste, so a little goes a long way. Miso is a good source of protein, fiber, vitamin K, manganese and copper. Miso is typically found in soups, but can also be used in salad dressings and marinades.

Yogurt is one of the most common probiotic foods out there. Learn more about its other health benefits besides keeping your gut healthy at

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