Working from the Inside Out

Before we begin eating “healthy” and “junky foods”, these little workers called gut microbes in your stomach and intestines are striving to do the following metabolic functions:

  • Vitamin and short chain fatty acid production
  • Bile acid biotransformation
  • Hydrolysis and fermentation of nondigestible substrates


The beneficial roles of gut microbiome include:

  • Immune cell homeostasis and development
  • Epithelial homeostasis
  • Enteric nerve regulation
  • Stimulates angiogenesis (new blood vessels)
  • Food digestion
  • Fat metabolism
  • Protects against pathogens


Did you know? There are about 3lbs worth of bacteria that line the intestinal tract. It is a unique ecosystem that constantly and aggressively protects your body from viruses and bacteria.


 (Oliver, August 2003)

When the GI tract and the gut (resident) microbes are disrupted, intestinal and extraintestinal diseases may develop, such as:


  • Allergies
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Metabolic Disorders
  • Cardiovascular Dyslipidemia
  • Neuropathology (disease of nervous system tissue)



You probably wouldn’t think about the inner workings of your intestines very often, but this may make you rethink about it! Let’s rehash this again cause the amount of bacteria on and in your body outnumber human cells by a factor of 10: 1!! Your gut microbes are the quarterbacks in the immune system. 70-80% of the entire immune system resides in the GUT—it’s one of the first lines of defence that keeps all of us healthy.

In essence, to having a healthy body is largely connected with the health of our guts. The human intestine contains 100 trillion microorganisms and hundreds of different species. The ratio of bacteria in the large intestine has been estimated to be 10¹¹ – 10¹² per ml—it is the most densely populated habitat in the human body.

Every single moment as we live and breathe, there is a mini battle of good and bad bacteria happening in our intestines. When our immune system resides in the intestinal tract, it’s the good microbes that strive to keep our guts and body healthy; but what fluctuates or diminishes these little microbes in a good or bad way – is what we eat and drink every single day; even stress can sway changes in gut microbes.

Where do the bad bacteria go?

They reside in the intestinal lining (mucosal barrier). *The size of the intestinal lining in a healthy adult is about 30 – 40 square meters—about half the size of a badminton court.

What feeds or influences the bad bacteria?
Harmful bacteria are fed a poor diet, sugar, overeating red meat, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners (sucralose), eating too many foods containing gluten, and over-consumption of dairy (especially those who are sensitive to dairy).

What diminishes good gut microbes?

Antibiotic use, overuse of over the counter products like certain medications like Aspirin, mouthwashes, antacids, painkillers, laxatives. Other dramatic changes that affect gut microbes are overuse of sanitation products (using antibacterial soaps), chlorinated drinking water, heavy metals (amalgam fillings), artificial food colouring, antidepressants and sleeping pills, altered fats, consuming too many carbohydrates, anticholesterol drugs, alcohol, stress, and smoking.

Feed your microbes, so they don’t feed on you!

When the diet is lacking fibre, gut microbes becomes starved for fermentable fibre! Some die off, but other gut floras switch to other sources like the mucus lining. When gut bacteria turn to the mucous lining as a food source, it can trigger inflammation and disease. The mucous lining helps maintain the gut wall and keeps it intact, and free from infection. The gut wall acts as a barrier between the outside world and the inside of our bodies. 

Bowel Fermentation – Undigested Proteins

Undigested proteins (especially diets high in protein) can become putrefy from bacteria and can become toxic in the large intestine – primarily in the distal colon can have carcinogenic effects. Meaning, individual amino acids like Lysine, Tyrosine, and Tryptophan that are not digested and eliminated, can produce skatole, phenol, and indole. These toxic components can be reabsorbed at any level into the small or large intestine. (Pamela Vernocchi, 2016)

► Skatole is formed by undigested amino acids like Tryptophan. This component has been found to affect the circulation of the central nervous system.

► Phenol is formed by undigested amino acids like Tyrosine and can be absorbed into the body. This element has been found to be very toxic and has been used as an anti-microbial agent, and it’s found to be corrosive and can cause necrosis of gastrointestinal mucosa. (Necrosis is a form of cell injury which results in the premature death of cells)

► Putrescence and Cadaverine are formed from putrefied and un-digested amino acids like Tryptophan. These two have been found to lower blood pressure.

► Tryptamine, formed from sources like Tryptophan (undigested amino acids), this toxin can raise blood pressure.

► Histamine is also a decomposition of Tryptophan, and this fermented amino acid can produce the following health issues: headaches, head congestion, nervous depression, cardiac arrhythmia, fall of blood pressure, nausea, and collapse.  (Alan Immerman, 1979)

How to maintain our Gut Microbiome?

A great, very simple way to promote good bacteria is via prebiotics and fermented foods and supplements. Prebiotics are found in foods that are indigestible to humans; they’re pure food for bacteria. Prebiotic nutrients are abundant in garlic, Jerusalem artichoke, chicory root, jicama, onion and asparagus (to name just a few examples). (Giovanni Tomasello, 2016)

Fermented foods are specific foods that are allowed to ‘ferment’—that is, yeast or bacteria are permitted to establish cultures on them. Many people shy away from fermented foods, but many are familiar enough that you may not recognise them. Beer and wine are produced from fermentation (although alcohol is not the healthiest option); so are cheese, yoghurt, sauerkraut, kombucha, kimchee, pickles and kefir. Many of these, like kombucha, have been shown to have significant health-promoting properties, making these fermented prebiotic foods excellent for your microbiome.

To combat society’s fastidious anti-bacterial drumbeat, utilise Avena’s Proteolytic Probiotics
 to flourish the intestinal tract, and supplement with Avena’s Enzymes to prevent undigested proteins and putrefied amino acids. Let these soldiers and workers conquer the daily battles and win the war – by fortifying the musical lining and protect the gut wall.

Information on the Microbiome should empower you! As much as your microbes can be significantly affected by our diet and environment – gut flora is resilient, and they’re able to evolve and bounce back. From here on, take charge of your gut health!

You know what to do!