Brainstorm a list of behaviors that an individual could engage in that could cause changes to a gut microbial community. For each behavior you list, discuss how that behavior could change the microbial community, and what potential health impacts (beneficial, detrimental, neutral) that change could be for the individual’s health.
Eating yogurt or probiotics – Beneficial, will improve gut flora and help with regular elimination.
Not drinking water – Detrimental, will cause bloating and inability to remove waste from the body as waste will store in kidneys, unable to leave.
Eat a lot of sugar – Detrimental, will create a highly acidic internal environment pushing the scales too far in one direction and encouraging more growth of certain bacterial microorganisms that really should be kept in balance with those that grow in a more alkaline environment.
Being on antibiotics – Neutral, depending on what’s happening in your body. If you need antibiotics to treat an infection, then antibiotics are necessary and you should treat that situation and then afterwards ingest probiotics to return your gut flora to normal. Use this strategy sparingly.
Binge drinking – Detrimental, too much alcohol causes the stomach to make too much gastritis which can lead to indigestion and heartburn. In the gut, it can cause too much of certain bacteria to grow and not enough of others to have a healthy balance.
Sedentary lifestyle – Detrimental, exercise helps to boost movement in the body which includes elimination. Sitting around in the same position makes it hard to stay active in it’s own procedures. Exercise can help reduce gut inflammation.
Smoke cigarettes – Detrimental, smoking contributes to heartburn and GERD. It creates an environment in the body that is imbalanced. The effects cause the body to be too acidic and an imbalance in bacteria produced because of it.