Lipoic Acid Improves Friendly Flora Status
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist Byron J. Richards,
In a groundbreaking animal study researchers demonstrated that giving lipoic acid to mice that were consuming a high fat diet improved numerous measures of their antioxidant status while at the same time maintained a much better balance of friendly flora. Mice not getting the lipoic acid experienced overgrowth of E. coli and enterococcus bacteria, with depression of friendly lactobacilli.
In the last several years the importance of the health of trillions of foreign bacteria within your digestive tract has become a hot topic of research. It has been found that the gene signaling of these foreigners communicates back and forth with your body’s gene signaling system. This means that the processes that regulate your metabolism are being influenced, in either a good or bad way, by your gut contents. A junk fat diet can stimulate the growth of hostile bacteria, making it more difficult to metabolize the fat that is consumed and thus increasing the risk for obesity.
This is a novel study. It is the first I have seen showing that the antioxidant status of the host impacts the type of bacteria in the gut, helping bacteria to be in a more friendly status. This study has major implications for both metabolic and digestive health.
Most overweight people have depressed antioxidant status in the first place, as the condition of being overweight generates massive amounts of free radical damage at the cellular level and uses up antioxidants. Improving antioxidant status by weight loss, lifestyle improvement, diet quality, the Leptin Diet, improved fitness, and antioxidant supplementation will all work together, over time, to help improve digestive health. Lipoic acid not only improves antioxidant status but it is also a key player in calorie metabolism. Many studies show that it benefits multiple aspects of metabolism.
The most basic ways to improve friendly flora are to improve diet quality, take an acidophilus supplement, and increase fiber intake. These remain valid. An additional strategy is to improve antioxidant status. In this study, this was done with lipoic acid. In the article on silymarin I posted yesterday, ulcerative colitis Inflammation of the colon. It may be related to Crohn's disease, Ulcertative Colitis or other Inflammatory Bowel Disorders was improved in humans by taking this potent antioxidant herb. Although the study did not directly test friendly flora status, the beneficial results imply such changes took place.
I believe that including an emphasis on boosting overall antioxidant status in any person with digestive problems will yield excellent clinical improvement.
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