Research shows new cause of gut inflammation

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Imagine a bustling city inside your stomach. This city, called the gut, is filled with countless tiny organisms.

While some of these organisms can make us sick, many are actually our allies, helping us stay healthy.

These organisms all live together in a community known as the gut microbiota. This community is made up not only of bacteria but also includes viruses and tiny creatures called protists.

One of the most common residents of this microscopic city is a protist named Blastocystis. Much like people, Blastocystis comes in various forms, each with its own unique traits.

Depending on its type, Blastocystis can be either a friend that keeps our gut healthy or a foe that causes trouble.

Researchers in Singapore, including Professor Nicholas Gascoigne and Associate Professor Kevin Tan from the National University of Singapore, focused on a particular type called Blastocystis ST7, which is known to often cause problems like diarrhea.

This type is common in Asia but not as much in the West. For a long time, scientists were unsure how exactly Blastocystis ST7 was upsetting the gut.

Dr. Lukasz Wojciech, a prominent researcher on the team, made an interesting discovery. He found that Blastocystis ST7 produces a substance called indole-3-acetyldehyde, or I3AA for short. Think of I3AA as a troublemaker in the gut city.

It provokes the body’s immune cells to overreact, attacking not just the harmful organisms but also the friendly ones, leading to inflammation and gut issues.

This discovery was groundbreaking as it was the first time scientists understood how this particular type of Blastocystis could cause inflammation through the production of I3AA.

But the research brought some good news too. The team discovered that certain friendly bacteria, particularly a group called lactobacillus, can fight the negative effects of I3AA.

Lactobacillus is found in delicious foods like yogurt and cheese and helps to regulate our immune system and keep our gut healthy.

If someone’s stomach is upset due to Blastocystis ST7, eating foods rich in lactobacilli might be a simple way to help soothe the stomach and keep our internal city in harmony. It’s like bringing in friendly and helpful new citizens to maintain peace.

As the research progresses, understanding the different types of Blastocystis and their behaviors becomes crucial. This knowledge allows for better diagnosis and treatment, helping us manage our gut health more effectively.

Professor Gascoigne stated that their work is far from finished. They are now looking deeper into I3AA, trying to find out if it is unique to Blastocystis ST7 and if it could serve as a marker to identify diseases.

They are also exploring more about lactobacilli to see if specific types can prevent the inflammatory effects triggered by Blastocystis ST7.

Though it might be easy to overlook the bustling world inside our gut, it’s clear that it plays a vital role in our overall health. The various organisms within our gut navigate a complex ecosystem that impacts our wellbeing directly.

From the troublesome Blastocystis ST7 to the beneficial lactobacillus found in our favorite foods, gaining a deeper understanding of our internal world offers a fascinating and critical perspective on maintaining a healthy life.

This exploration connects microscopic beings to everyday wellness, opening new paths in science, nutrition, and how we handle health daily.

The intriguing findings from this study were published in The EMBO Journal, highlighting the significant strides being made in understanding gut health.

If you care about health, please read studies about how Mediterranean diet could protect your brain health, and the best time to take vitamins to prevent heart disease.

For more health information, please see recent studies that olive oil may help you live longer, and vitamin D could help lower the risk of autoimmune diseases.

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