Eating a diet filled with animal products can disrupt your microbiome faster than taking an antibiotic.
Welcome back to my blog! I am hearing more and more about an inflamed bowel or leaky gut and want to share today what causes it and why. This disease is often the first symptom as well for worse! A healthy gut is the key to longevity and health.
What does the science say? If you do a systematic review of the medical literature on dietary intake and the risk of developing inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease is associated with the intake of fat and meat, whereas dietary fiber and fruits appear protective. The same foods are associated with the other major inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis: fat and meat, with a protective association found for vegetable intake.
Why, according to this meta-analysis of nine separate studies, do meat consumers have about a 50 percent greater risk for inflammatory bowel disease?
One possibility is that meat may be a vehicle for bacteria that play a role in the development of such diseases. Meat contains huge amounts of Yersinia, for example. Yes, maybe antibiotic residues in the meat could be theoretically mucking with our microbiome, but Yersinia are so-called psychotropic bacteria, meaning they’re able to grow at fridge temperatures. It has been found to be significantly associated with inflammatory bowel disease, supporting this concept that Yersinia infection may be a trigger of chronic inflammatory bowel disease.
One reason why speciﬁcally animal protein was associated with triple the risk of inflammatory bowel disease, but plant protein was not, is because it can lead to the formation of toxic bacterial end products, such as the rotten egg gas, hydrogen sulfide. Hydrogen sulfide is not just one of the main “malodorous compounds in human flatus;” it’s a poison that has been implicated in ulcerative colitis. So, go on some meat-heavy, low-carb diet, and we’re not just talking about some “malodorous rectal ﬂatus,” but increased risk of irritable bowel, inflammatory bowel syndrome, and eventually, colorectal cancer.
Hydrogen sulfide in the colon comes from sulphur-containing amino acids like methionine that are concentrated in animal proteins, though there are also sulfites added as preservatives to some nonorganic wine and nonorganic dried fruit. It’s the sulphur-containing amino acids that may be the more important of the two. Give people increasing quantities of meat, and you can get an exponential rise in fecal sulfides.
Specific bacteria, like Biophilia wadsworthia, can take this sulfur that ends up in our colon and produce hydrogen sulfide. If you eat an animal product-based diet packed with meat, eggs, and dairy, you can specifically increase the growth of this bacteria.
People underestimate the dramatic effect diet can have on our gut bacteria. Having a fecal transplant, can take three days to shift your microbiome. Take a powerful antibiotic like Cipro, and it can take a week. But start packin’ in the meat and eggs, and within a single day you can change your microbiome—and not for the better. You can more than double the bad bacterial machinery that churns out hydrogen sulfide, consistent with the thinking that diet-induced changes to the gut flora may contribute to the development of inflammatory bowel disease.
SO what do I recommend as a Health Coach?
First, check in with yourself and see, how often and how many animal products do you eat? Often we think that we only eat them when we actually see or cook them like meat or fish or an egg or drinking milk from the bottle but there are actually too many hidden animal ingredients in our other products! And if you start paying attention, you might realize that you eat animal products with every meal!
Secondly, after checking all your products reflect if you need to consume those or might be able to replace them? I understand when people love their piece of meat or fish once in a while but consuming animal products when we don’t even notice or taste is feels like a waste of health, the animal life and the environment, doesn’t it?
Thirdly, include more fiber into your diet. Fiber is the fuel for a healthy gut bacteria. If you continue eating animal products on daily basis I would highly recommend to eat fiber with every meal as well (which I would recommend no matter if you consume animal products or not) but it is even more important in this case.
I hope you enjoyed reading this weeks blog post and found it helpful. Leave me a comment with your experience below. I am excited to hear from you!
As a Health Coach, I am mentoring my clients to create and maintain long-term lifestyle changes to enhance their overall quality of life. In addition to supporting clients with specific goals, I empower my clients to choose health-promoting behaviors that work for them. I raise awareness and offer support as clients move in their own bio-individual ways toward the greater health they want for themselves. My coaching hopefully leads to long-term behavior change, but only because I help my clients do the meaningful work that forms a strong foundation.
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