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Small Increase of One Type of Gut Bacteria May Boost the Immune System

Did you know that your digestive tract is home to a trillions

Photo Credit: NIH/Flickr

Did you know that your digestive tract is home to a trillions of microbes of all shapes and sizes? In healthy people, this vibrant community of bacteria, fungi and viruses helps maintain normal digestive and immune system processes. This gut microbiome also plays a role in preventing diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Microbes in the gut have long been known to benefit human health. But a new study suggests that a specific kind of bacteria may play an especially important role in fighting infection. The scientists linked this immune boosting benefit to a fatty acid called butyrate, which is created as a by-product of certain gut bacteria. Butyrate is produced by bacteria as they break down fiber found in foods like fruits and vegetables. The researchers found that as the amount of butyrate-producing bacteria rise, the chances of hospitalization for infection drops. For every 10% uptick in butyrate-promoting bacteria, the risk of hospitalization falls by 14-25 percent.

Full Story: HealthDay

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