Diet and immunity: What’s the connection? – A three part series by Robyn Chuter

Good bugs, bad bugs – Part three

All of us have a diverse mixture of bacteria inhabiting our gut, primarily the large intestine (colon). Beneficial bacteria (probiotics) produce vitamins and health-promoting short chain fatty acids such as butyrate. These help us to excrete metabolic toxins and instruct our immune system to fight dangerous invaders while tolerating friendly bugs.

Then there are dangerous bacteria (pathogens) which, if they get the upper hand, can produce toxins that can make us sick and even kill us.

And then there are bacteria that could swing either way (pathobiotics) depending largely on the prevailing food supply that’s available to them.

Broadly speaking, beneficial bacteria prefer to ferment the indigestible portions of carbohydrate (fibre and resistant starch) while unfriendly bacteria thrive on refined carbohydrate, protein and fat.

So what you choose to eat doesn’t just feed you; it feeds the teeming populations of bacteria that inhabit your gut… for better, or for worse.

Published on 19 June 2018



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