Dual Offer + FREE Dr Advice | WhatsApp Prescription | Book Home Visit ✆ 09220145540

Menu Icon

Gut Bacteria - A Source Of Vitamins

Gut Bacteria - A Source Of Vitamins

Posted By HealthcareOnTime Team Posted on 2022-03-24

"Daag achhe hai! (Cloth stains are good!)" says the advertisement of a popular detergent. Similarly, some bacteria are also good. Bacteria are ubiquitous in our surroundings, and are also present in many parts of our body. While most bacteria get a bad name for causing diseases, those that are already present in our body are actually essential for our well-being, and whose absence may cause adverse effects to our health. The relation between these bacteria and their host is of mutual benefit. These bacteria are collectively termed as the microflora, and are found on the skin, gut, etc., having different roles to play at each location.

Gut Bacteria - A Source Of Vitamins

Gut Microflora
The human gut is home to 10 microbial cells, constituting 300 to 500 different species of bacteria, coexisting in a complex and dynamic ecosystem. Some of these bacterial species are pathogenic and have the potential to cause infections or sepsis if the host immune system or barriers, are compromised. Development of the microflora begins right from birth and the nature of the bacteria that colonizes the gut depends upon the nature of delivery and the type of milk fed to the baby, This microflora differs in infants than those of adults. The development into an adult-like profile occurs around one year of age, when the baby is fed with solid food,

Among the bacterial species present, anaerobes outnumber aerobes and the most common species found in the gut are Bacteroids, Bifidobacterium, Eubacterium, Escherichia, Enterobacter, Klebsiella, etc. Bifidobacteria are among the first species to colonize the gut of newborns. Once the gut has been colonized by the bacteria soon after birth, the overall composition of the microflora does not change by much due to specific conditions of pH, intestinal motility, nutrients, host secretions, etc. Minor modifications can arise due to dietary change or due to some conditions like diarrhea, old age, poor dietary habits, stress or antibiotic treatment.

The relationship of mutual benefit between the host and bacteria is called commensalism. Gut microflora have a variety of indispensable functions in our body, primary among these are the synthesis of vitamins (mostly vitamin K), assisting the digestion of cellulose, as well as promoting angiogenesis and enteric nerve function These bacteria benefit from this relationship as the host provides the advantages of protection and nutrition.

Macronutrient metabolism The great variety of gut bacteria becomes a source of a large number of different enzymes and Metabolic pathways that can digest nondigestible components of the food. These microbial processes allow the recovery of metabolic energy and substrates in forms that can be absorbed and utilized by the body. Non-digestible carbohydrates such as polysaccharides, as well as some proteins and peptides are converted into short-chain fatty acids. These short chain fatty acids have essential functions of their own to play in our body, such as serving as energy source and modulation of glucose metabolism.

Mineral absorption The fermentation of carbohydrates and production of short-chain fatty acids assists the absorption of calcium, Magnesium and iron.

Cellular growth and differentiation The resident, bacteria in gut greatly influence and stimulate the proliferation and differentiation of the intestinal, epithelial cells.

Role in Immunity The mucosa that lines the intestinal tract are a component of the immune system, as they serve as barriers between the pathogen and host cells. They are also involved in the development of memory in the components of immunity associated with systemic response to pathogens. Exposure to the antigens presented by these bacteria primes the immune system into developing resistance against related pathogenic strains of bacteria that may invade the body

Aside from these, gut microflora are also essential for one major function, that is
Vitamin Synthesis and Metabolism
Bacteroides, Bifidobacterium and Enterococcus are genera of bacteria that are known to synthesize vitamins, including water-soluble vitamins like thiamine, folate, riboflavin and pantothenic acid. Of the fat-soluble vitamins, nearly half of the daily requirement of vitamin Kis supplied by the gut bacteria.

Vitamin K
Vitamin K is a cofactor that is required for the synthesis of clotting factors II, VII, IX and X. In addition, vitamin K is also necessary for improving bone health. It also reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases. The form of vitamin K known as menaquinone (vitamin K2) is suggested by some studies to be more effective in these functions. Whereas dietary sources of vitamin K2 are limited, intestinal bacteria can serve as alternative sources of the vitamin.

Intestinal bacteria produce menaquinone as a part of their electron transport chain, where it functions as electron and proton carriers in the cytoplasmic membrane during respiration. In prokaryotic cells, vitamin K2 is also proposed to have functions like antioxidant activity, cellular signaling, ATP synthesis, nucleic acid synthesis, etc.

The production of vitamin K in the gut is done mostly by aerobic Gram positive bacteria and anaerobic bacteria which use menaquinone in their electron transport chain. While originally it was thought that gut bacteria contributed to 50% of total vitamin K requirement, the exact contribution is still uncertain due to incomplete characterization of gut menaquinone content and the gut bacteria themselves. Further, the route of absorption of menaquinones by the intestine is not clear, but appears to occur through a process that requires bile salts in the small intestine. Majority of the production of menaquinone occurs in the colon, where bile salts are present in reduced concentration. This might result in a lower absorption of vitamin K by the intestine. This reduced absorption is essential, as

vitamin K is a fat soluble vitamins and complete absorption would result in circulatory concentrations of vitamin K far exceeding the requirement of this vitamin. The composition of the gut bacteria also influences the quantity as well as the forms of vitamin K that is produced; both of these also change from person to person since the gut microflora composition is also different in different individuals.

Despite the low amounts of vitamin K produced by the gut bacteria, vitamin K is essential for maintaining coagulation function in the body, especially among severely ill individuals who have suffered from vitamin K deficiency over a long period of time. Also, presence of menaquinone has been demonstrated in the hepatic tissues, indicating that vitamin K produced by the gut bacteria is not only bioavailable, but also important as a source of micronutrients.

Vitamin B Complex
Vitamins of B complex serve as necessary cofactors for functions like fat and carbohydrate metabolism and DNA synthesis pathways. Human cells are incapable of producing B complex vitamins in sufficient amounts Moreover, being temperature sensitive and water soluble, these vitamins can be easily removed or degraded, especially while cooking or due to prolonged storage. Hence, procurement of enough amount requires synthesis by gut microflora. Colonocyte cells in humans exhibit the presence of receptors for B complex vitamins, especially riboflavin, and therefore play a role in homeostasis of these vitamins. During short periods of dietary vitamin shortage, these bacteria can provide sufficient B vitamins to avoid a deficiency.

These bacteria carry out the de novo synthesis of essential vitamins like biotin, cobalamine, Folate, nicotinic acid, and other B complex that humans are incapable of producing.

Cobalamin (Vitamin B12) Synthesis
Produced exclusively by bacteria and Archaea, deficiency of this vitamin can result from either faulty uptake due to disorders such as pernicious anemia, as well as inadequate intake through diet. Since this vitamin cannot be produced by humans, it has to be obtained from microrganisms. Cobalamin is produced in highest amounts in the colon, but its biovailability is linited due to the reduced number of receptors required for absorbing the vitamin as found in the small intestine. Only some bacteria can produce cobalamin; these include Pseudomonas denitrificans, Bacillus megaterium, and Propionibacterium freudenreichii. It can be synthesized by two different mechanisms, by oxygen dependent pathway and oxygen independent pathway.

Folic Acid (Vitamin B9) Synthesis
Folic acid is necessary for a variety of metabolic processes including synthesis of DNA and RNA. Reduced forms of folate are used as one-carbon unit for synthesis of purines, pyrimidines, thymine and methionine. As animals are incapable of producing these on their own, folate is obtained through dietary sources as well as through intestinal bacteria. After synthesis, a carrier-mediated mechanism found in the human colonocytes allows the contribution of folate obtained through intestinal bacteria to host nutrition.

Lower levels of this vitamin are associated with coronary disease, as well as forms of anemia and growth retardation. Folic acid is also protective against cancer. Lactobacilli that are obtained from fermented foods are Gram positive eubacteria have been frequently investigated as sources of folate.

in addition to these, a large portion of the recommended pyridoxine intake and nearly a third of the recommended folate and cobalamin is obtained through, intestinal bacteria.

Imbalances of Gut Microflora
In the event of abnormal changes in the gut ecosystem, the resident microflora can turn potentially harmful, leading to allergies, Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD), obesity, Diabetes, and possibly even cancer. Certain bacteria like Escherichia coli (which can cause sepsis) and production of toxins by Clostridium difficile can cause inflammation of the colon following a surgery or antibiotic treatment. Other intestinal symptoms like bloating, abdominal pain and diarrhea are also seen in case of disturbance in the composition of gut microflora. One of the most common manifestations of dysbiosis of gut microflora is infections. When pathogens colonize intestinal mucosa, they cause an inflammation in that region.

Factors that influence gut microbiome:
1. Method of delivery at birth
2. Infant feeding
3. Genetics
4. Infections
5. Medications (especially antibiotic intake)
6. Diet
7. Environmental toxins

Diet and lifestyle have major effects on the quantity and composition of gut bacteria. Smoking, as well as lack of exercise have significant impacts on the large intestine, and by extension, on the nature of microbiota, which could even increase the risk of Crohn's disease. Toxin particles transmitted through air due to increased environmental pollution can also contribute to imbalance in the microbiome, manifesting as Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Higher levels of saturated fats stimulate the increase in number of pro-inflammatory gut bacteria. Poor sanitary conditions, as well as impaired circadian cycle can also alter gut microbiome.

The key here is to reduce the amount of saturated fats, sugary carbohydrates and increase the consumption of probiotic foods like yogurt. Abstaining from alcohol and smoking, as well as sufficient exercise can promote good gut health. After all, a happy gut translates into a happy life!


View Our Editorial Policy
Was this article helpful?

Trending Health & Fitness Web Stories

Find Latest Health Web Stories, Fitness Photo Stories, Health AMP Stories.VIEW ALL

Did you catch our latest post? JOIN US

Facebook LinkedIn Instagram Twitter YouTube

Contact Us

Email: info@healthcareontime.com | Phone No: 09220145540 | Whatsapp: 9820693367
  • Copyright 2024 HealthCareOnTime.com, All Rights Reserved
  • Disclaimer: HealthcareOnTime offers extensively researched information, including laboratory testing for health screening. However, we must emphasize that this content is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always prioritize consulting your healthcare provider for accurate medical guidance and personalized treatment. Remember, your health is of paramount importance, and only a qualified medical professional can make precise determinations regarding your well-being.
DMCA.com Protection Status HealthCareOnTime.com Protection Status HealthCareOnTime.com Protection Status