Gut Bacteria Help us Detoxify and Maintain a "Non-Leaky" Gut - Aspire Natural Health

Gut Bacteria Help us Detoxify and Maintain a “Non-Leaky” Gut

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If you’ve read much of what I write or post about, you know that I’m a HUGE fan of our gut bacteria. Here are four things they are widely acknowledged as doing:

  1. Protecting us from pathogenic (‘bad’) bacteria
  2. Regulating our immune system
  3. Creating vitamins and other nutrients
  4. Helping to maintain a healthy digestive tract


But here are three more things that gut bacteria do that you probably don’t know about, and that I’ve uncovered in my research

1. They change the gens expression of the liver, and the way it detoxifies

This study in rats showed that beneficial bacteria actually alter the DNA (gene) expression of the liver and change the way it detoxifies drugs.

And this study showed that ‘bad’ bacteria actually reduce the ability of the liver to detoxify.

So, another issue with dysbiosis (overgrowth of bad bacteria) is that the bad bacteria actually hamper our ability to detox. Perhaps this is why clinically we often see impaired detox in many of the people we work with, and why they often need some extra help to get things moving again.

But wait, there’s more…


2. They help the cells of the large intestine (colon) to detoxify

Bacteria in the large intestine ferment  fiber into butyrate, a short chain fatty acid (SCFA). This study shows that butyrate increases glutathione production in the cells of the large intestine.

Glutathione is the body’s master antioxidant and a critical player in the detoxification pathways.

So to sum up: good bacteria = butyrate production = increased glutathione in large intestine cells = increased ability to detoxify.

So not only do good bacteria help the liver to detoxify, they help the cells of the intestines to do it themselves.



3. Modify bile to prevent leaky gut & inflammation

Bile is a substance secreted by the liver and gallbladder that helps us to absorb the fat we eat. If you had no bile, your stool (poop) would come out white or grayish in color, freaky looking and happens in some people with serious liver problems, and you wouldn’t be able to absorb your fats.

But there’s more!

study abstract I just discovered today shows that good bacteria act on the bile, breaking some of it down into potent stimulators of a receptor called the farnesoid X receptor (never heard of it? Neither had I) which activates anti-inflammatory reactions in the body and preserves gut barrier integrity (prevents leaky gut).

This study  showed that people with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), and especially Crohn’s disease had far fewer bacteria breaking down bile to stimulate the farnesoid X receptor and that may be a key player in the inflammation and leaky gut that people with IBD suffer from.

I hope you found this half as interesting as I do, and yet another reason to give our bacterial friends a little more respect. And if your gut is out of whack, another reason to resolve that dysbiosis and maintain a healthy gut flora.


At Aspire Natural Health we are experts at helping people suffering with digestive issues and autoimmunity.

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Another Interesting post:

What is the difference between “regular” probiotics and soil based organisms (SBOs)?