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If you enjoy a high-fat lifestyle, you can avoid the negative side effects by making sure your gut bacteria is healthy, according to research from George Mason University.

A thriving colony of the right kind of gut bacteria could help offset damage to vital organs caused by a high-fat diet, said Robin Couch, a George Mason chemistry professor who’s been researching metabolic alterations as part of a project funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

It soon could be as simple as taking a pill loaded with a dried bacteria blend, an approach that’s part of using probiotics to improve health, Couch said. Probiotics are a mixture of living microbes that affect the digestive system. They’ve been a nutritional buzzword for some time now­­––just check out the yogurt section of the grocery store or walk down a health food store aisle.

“The old adage is that you are what you eat, but more recently we have discovered that it’s really, you are what your microbes make in your gut,” Couch said. “The gut and its effect on the body is a big deal in your overall health.”

Probiotics may help mitigate unhealthy eating habits. Mason researchers have discovered that animals fed a high-fat diet supplemented with a side of probiotics maintained healthy vital organs such as the heart and liver, said Couch, adding that a published paper is forthcoming. Without probiotics, those organs showed the ill-effects of poor nutrition, he said.

While promising, there’s still a lot to know about how probiotics work, said Couch, whose lab has two USDA-funded doctoral students working on the problem. Researchers are figuring out how much and what kind of bacteria creates a healthy gut. The result could be a probiotic “cocktail” that helps beneficial bacteria flourish, he said.

Also, probiotics could help with Crohn’s disease, which is an inflammation of the digestive track. Couch is working with USDA researchers to discover the chemistry behind how a pig parasite helps sufferers of Crohn’s disease by decreasing inflammation in their digestive system. His hope is that a blend of probiotic bacteria in pill form could have the same effect as the worms.

Patients could simply take a pill full of the beneficial bacteria instead of ingesting a living parasite. Buy Proline Organic Probiotics here.

“People would clearly prefer not to eat worms,” said Couch.

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