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“Probiotics get turned away when there is no room at the inn”
You consider yourself – health savvy, so you’re doing your bit for your gut flora. You’re feeding your bacteria, avoiding antibiotics and routinely swallowing a probiotic and eating lots of yoghurt.
The probiotic you’re swallowing is top of the range, it has 9 different bacteria in it – they all have very long names, but you’re sending down billions of these little guys into the gut abyss. So they can get to work doing all the good things, good bacteria do.
But what happens to these billion good guys down the pike ? Researchers from California Institute of Technology discovered they more often than not just pass through…..because, there are no vacancies at HOTEL COLON.
It is a rough ride
Let’s assume the bacteria in your probiotc have managed to survive the weeks/months cramped up in the tiny pill, into which they were packaged. This is often not true, but that is another story.
Getting into the gut is not smooth sailing, because they have to cross through the ACID sea. Now sometimes this is relatively easy, but it is not meant to be. The acidity of the stomach is designed to kick start digestion and weed out the bacterial riff raff.
But shrewd bacteria are able to put on their raincoat and wellies so they emerge, relatively unscathed on the other side.
Moving on through
The colon is in a state of constant flux – foods and fluids are moving through. Bacteria caught up in the mix, can enjoy the food and company, for a few hours or days, as they pass through.
But they will pass through.
The happy life comes to an abrupt end, when they are ceremonially expelled. Their expulsion means, your probiotic bacteria are no longer working for you.
But that is not the plan………. why didn’t they take up residence ?
The gut is a crowded space
Officially the gut has a trillion or so bacteria, so it is a crowded place – logic dictates, that it going to be tough to find a spot. But when their a billion identical bacteria, you would think it would be relatively easy to find a spot. After all, numbers rule……….
The research team discovered competition in the gut is not quite so simple.
There is only so much room
For specific bacteria.
The Bacteriodes family are usual residents of the gut, but there are lots of different types of Bacteroides. The team introduced bacteria from the Bacteriodes family, into germ-free mice i.e. mice that have been specially bred, so that they have no natural flora.
When different members of the family were added to mice, everyone got on well. Analysis showed that the bacteria were all able to find a spot and live happily together in the gut.
Competition for the available rooms
But when the research team tried to add Bacteriodes fragilis, to a gut which already had Bacteriodes fragilis in residence, things did not go according to plan.
The new Bacteroides fragilis found itself out in the cold.
Try as they might, they could not supercolonize the gut with this inherently good guy.
Stunned………… the team investigated why not.
Rooms with a view
Using fancy genetic screening techniques the team discovered Bacteriodes fragilis are carrying a special key, named the commensal colonization factor (CCF). This key, gives the bacteria access to special rooms deep within the crypt channels of the colon.
Bacteria that slip into one of these special rooms, avoid being caught up in the continuous stream of food and fluid heading towards the rectum – so they are able to take up permanent residence in the gut.
The Colon Hotel and Entertainment Centre is pretty big, with lots of nooks and crannies, there are a limited number of rooms, with the CCF lock on the door.
The Bacteriodes fragilis who move in first, don’t give up the room to newbies.
Of course, other species of bacteria, are able to find suitable rooms in the Colon Hotel complex, because they’re carrying a different key.
Diversity the key
Our Colon Hotel and Entertainment Centre is a happening place.
But what is happening depends on who is in the crowd. Yes you want a big crowd, but you need a diverse crowd, to really get the groove on.
So live a little dirty !
Stop panicking – the COMING is a good thing. When it comes to your personal collection of “bugs” on your skin, the more the merrier.
Are grown up girls struggling with autoimmune disorders because they were too clean when growing up ?
Sombreros provides protection from the sun, likewise sombrero wearing bacteria in the gut, shield gut cells from the fallout following radiation therapy.
Interested in learning more about Hotel Colon ?
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