The medical community once thought that the gut was an incredibly simple system that was easy to understand. The original thought was that the digestive system was only responsible for absorbing the nutrients in food, while discarding the parts of the food that have no use. That thought has completely changed over the past 100 years or so. The medical community now understands what role the gut plays in several key areas.
The gut is involved not only in the digestive system, but the immune system and the mind as well. Many patients are often ignorant of their gut health and do not realize just how important gut health is to overall health. Hippocrates famously said, “all disease begins in the gut.” This quote shows just how important the gut is in anyone’s overall health.
There are about 70 million people just in the United States that have some form of digestive disease. Many of these diseases may have started due to a patient’s poor gut health. Some researchers believe that poor gut health is responsible for a variety of chronic diseases, including irritable bowel syndrome.
Patients who understand how important gut health is do not have many choices when it comes to treatments. Many of them are frustrated that western medicine has not been able to aid them in their journey to improve their gut health. Researchers have been looking for treatment methods that can help patients improve their gut health and recover from various gastrointestinal diseases.
Stem cell therapy may be able to help patients improve their gut health. Before we get into how stem cells can help patients with poor gut health, let’s discuss what gut health is to get a better understanding of how stem cells can yelp.
What Is Gut Health?
There are anywhere between 300 to 500 species of bacteria (microbes) that live throughout any person’s gastrointestinal tract. A majority of these bacteria species are healthy and good for a patient’s overall health. These microbes in the gut help your body break down food, fend off harmful pathogens, and may even influence a patient’s current mood.
Microbes begin to populate a patient’s gut before they are even born. A number of microbes are populated in the gut when patients are breastfed, as the mother transfers her gut microbes through her breast milk. Gut microbes constantly change throughout anyone’s life. The amount and diversity of microbes can be affected by a number of factors, including diet and environment.
Patients who eat a wide variety of plant-based foods typically have more diverse gut microbiomes. Interestingly, a study found that twins only share about a third of the same gut bacteria strains, which is only slightly more than two unrelated people. Gut microbiomes are incredibly unique to each individual and genetics play an extremely minor role in the makeup of gut diversity.
The research community has only just started to understand gut health and how it plays a large role in various systems in the body. A better understanding of gut health will give the medical community the ability to treat various conditions and diseases. Researchers believe that when a patient’s gut health is good that the patient will have less inflammation and a stronger immune system.
There are two terms that are important to define when discussing gut health, richness and diversity:
Richness is the total number of bacteria present in the gut.
Diversity is the number of different individual bacteria species that are present in the gut.
Both gut richness and diversity are important to overall gut health. They each play a part in overall gut health. It is relatively simple to understand why gut richness is important for gut health. If there are not enough bacteria in the gut to perform the necessary bodily functions, then the body will suffer. The body does a relatively good job at ensuring that there are enough bacteria in the gut. Gut diversity is more complex.
Why Does Gut Diversity Matter?
There are a few reasons why we should care about the diversity of the gut microbiome. Gut bacteria plays a large role in many processes in the body. Ensuring that the gut microbiome is as diverse as possible will improve a patient’s gut health.
Gut diversity plays a part in how effectively and efficiently our bodies break down food. Certain gut bacteria are able to break down certain foods. If the right bacteria is absent in the gut, then the body may not be able to break the food down and absorb the nutrients. Gut microbes also metabolize medications. Microbes also produce vitamin K, which makes blood-clotting proteins. Propionate is a molecule that helps the body to control blood sugar. This molecule is produced by bacteria in the gut when the body digests fiber.
Gut diversity can play a role in how we respond to dietary changes, which many patients struggle with. A 2015 study from the University of Gothenburg found that patients with high gut microbiome diversity responded to dietary changes to improve blood sugar control better than patients with low gut diversity. The patients with high gut diversity were more likely to have a certain strain of bacteria called prevotella because they had a more diverse gut microbiome.
Gut diversity also plays a huge part in the immune system. Current research suggests that approximately 70% to 80% of the immune system resides in the gut, which means that your immune system is in constant contact with your gut microbiome. When there is more diversity in the microbiome the immune system will be exposed to more diversity. This leads to an overall stronger immune system. Some researchers believe that the immune system learns from all the different strains of bacteria, so more diversity means your immune system becomes familiar with more strains of bacteria. Bacteria in the gut can also serve as a protective barrier to intestinal infections.
Some researchers believe that the decrease in gut diversity the medical community has seen is partially due to antibiotics. One study showed that a single round of antibiotics decreases gut diversity by at least 30%, and that number might be much higher. The antibiotics kill the healthy bacteria along with the harmful bacteria. Antibiotics are being prescribed more and more and it is likely that the healthy bacteria will continue to perish, which will negatively affect patient gut diversity and health.
The gut microbe may actually play a part in how effective stem cell transplants are in cancer patients. A study found that cancer patients were more likely to die after they received chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant if they lost microbe diversity in their gut. Cancer patients who lost gut diversity were also more likely to die from graft-versus-host disease.
Low gut microbial diversity is correlated with a number of diseases and chronic conditions, including:
- High Insulin Resistance
- Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes
- Ulcerative Colitis
- Crohn’s Disease
- Inflammation Throughout The Body
- Many Other Chronic Diseases
Gut health and diversity primarily create physical ailments and symptoms. There is a new line of thinking that gut health can affect several parts of the body. Poor gut health can affect a patient’s mental state. Some research has shown that gut health may contribute to the development of anxiety and depression.
Gut Health And Depression
Researchers have recently begun to understand how the gut plays a role in everything from a patient’s mood to the way that they think. The gut may actually be a ‘second brain’ and communicate directly with the brain. This ‘second brain’ is known as the enteric nervous system, which is made up of two layers of tissue that is composed of more than 100 million nerve cells from the esophagus all the way to the rectum.
The enteric nervous system cannot form thoughts like our regular brain can, but it plays a large role in how a patient is currently feeling. Patients with gut diseases, such as irritable bowel syndrome, have a much higher chance of developing anxiety and depression. Research is not sure if anxiety and depression lead to gut diseases or if gut diseases lead to anxiety and depression. It is a chicken and the egg scenario. Some patients develop gastrointestinal diseases from anxiety and depression, while other patients develop anxiety and depression from gastrointestinal diseases.
Inflammation and irritation in the gut could lead to mood changes for patients with gut issues. The ‘second brain’ may send signals to the central nervous system, which could make patients feel bad. This cycle will continue to damage the gastrointestinal tract as the brain will feel anxious and stressed from the gut pain, which will only accelerate the inflammation in the gut.
Improving gut health may help patients relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression. There are a few current treatment methods that patients who are looking to improve their gut health can use. Patients could improve their anxiety and depression, as well as several other chronic diseases and conditions.
Current Treatment Methods
The most common suggestion a medical professional will suggest is to change the patient’s lifestyle. Choices that patients make everyday can negatively affect gut health. A poor diet, alcohol use, high stress, lack of sleep, smoking, and more can result in an unhealthy gut. Changing these habits can improve gut health.
Patients are encouraged to eat more plant-based foods and eat more diverse food. Exercise can help improve gut microbiome diversity. Avoiding stress can also reduce inflammation in the gut, which would result in a healthier gut. Getting a proper night's sleep and healthy sleeping habits can improve gut health as well.
This is a difficult task as many patients will not change even if it could improve their quality of life. This treatment method is not guaranteed to work either. There are some patients that will not respond to a lifestyle change.
A potential way to increase gut richness and diversity is to take probiotics. This type of treatment has been shown to improve gut health in some patients. There is some mixed research, though. Some research has shown that probiotics improve gut health, while other research has concluded that it does not improve gut health. The most common bacteria strains offered in probiotics are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria.
There are a lot of bad actors in this sector unfortunately. There are plenty of companies who sell probiotics, but they may sell probiotics that contain bacteria that do not help your body. In 2019, researchers found 2,000 new species of bacteria that were previously unknown. Your gut may simply get rid of the bacteria and you will end up wasting your money.
One relatively new line of thinking is to transplant feces from a healthy individual into a patient with poor gut health. Feces have healthy gut bacteria present in its makeup that can be used to improve gut health. A healthy donor will have the right gut bacteria present in their feces to replenish the depleted patient’s depleted gut bacteria.
Their feces is mixed with saline, strained and then placed into a patient’s colon via colonoscopy, endoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, or enema. The patient will then attempt to hold the transplanted fecal matter as long as possible to ensure that the bacteria moves into the rest of the gut. This is an extreme method to improve gut health and is generally only performed when a patient’s gut bacteria has been completely decimated by antibiotics.
There are no surefire ways to improve your gut health. Many patients will not be able to use the above treatment methods. These treatment methods do not do enough for patients. That is why researchers have been looking for other ways to improve gut health. One interesting treatment method may boost healthy bacteria and stem cells in the gut, fasting.
Gut Health And Fasting
Only recently have humans been able to multiple times a day. In prehistoric times, humans had to go many hours or even several days in between eating. Modern culture where we eat three times a day may not be natural at all. Researchers are beginning to understand how fasting can positively impact gut health.
Some medical professionals are recommending intermittent fasting and multiple day fasts to improve a patient’s gut health. A fast occurs when a patient only drinks water over an extended period of time. You often have to fast the night before a surgery or procedure. The period of time can vary from several hours to several days. Fasting can have a positive effect on the microbes present in the gut.
A certain species of bacteria, akkermansia muciniphila, apparently thrives and multiples when there is no food present in the gut. This type of bacteria is inversely associated with obesity, diabetes, inflammation, and metabolic disorders. One recent study gave overweight patients a daily pill of akkermansia muciniphila to take orally. The group that received the pill daily lost more weight than the group that received a placebo pill. Additionally, the group who received the pill lowered their resistance to insulin, which can further benefit weight loss.
Fasting may also help the body get rid of harmful bacteria. One study evaluated mice who were infected with salmonella. A group of mice underwent alternate day fasting for 12 weeks, while the other group ate everyday during the time period. The group of mice that fasted were able to get rid of the bacteria associated with salmonella at a much faster rate than the group that ate everyday. The salmonella bacteria also were not able to cross out of the gut in the fasted mice. The gut and immune system were able to fight off the bacteria before they caused more of an issue.
Fasting also promotes the development and multiplication of stem cells in the gut. When there is no food in the gut, the body can focus on generating stem cells. Stem cells can help repair any damage in the gut and improve the overall gut health of a patient. Stem cells have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. Reducing inflammation in the gut can help ensure the survival of healthy bacteria.
The benefits of fasting for gut health are clear, so why don’t more patients introduce fasting into their lives? Not eating for days or even multiple hours at a time is difficult for most people as many people eat three meals a day, not including snacks. Many patients will struggle to fast for more than a few hours at a time. This will prevent patients from taking advantage of fasting to improve overall gut health.
That is why researchers have been looking into stem cells to improve patient’s gut health. Stem cells may hold the key to improve gut health and treat a variety of conditions and diseases that are related to gut health.
Stem Cells Role In Gut Regeneration
Stem cells play a large part in how the gut works and in overall gut health. The intestinal epithelium is the single cell layer that forms the lining of the small and large intestines. Some researchers believe that the intestinal epithelium is the most rapidly regenerating tissue in the body. The lining of the intestines is replaced every few days by intestinal stem cells. But, how do intestinal stem cells decide to create new cells that will replace the intestinal lining?
Researchers have been able to learn that stem cells in the intestine take directions from the environment in the intestine. Stem cells require several types of signals from the surrounding cells in the intestinal tract. The two most important signals for intestinal stem cells are called Wnts and R-spondins. The Wnt tells a stem cell that they are in the correct location and prepares them to take action, while R-spondins instruct stem cells to divide and create more stem cells.
Stem cells' role in the gut is clear, but how does that help with gut health?
Stem cells have been looked at for a number of conditions and disease. Everything from arthritis to strokes has been studied to see if stem cells can be a potential treatment method. That is exactly why researchers were interested in exploring stem cell therapy to improve gut health. If stem cells can improve gut health, it could improve the outcome of many long-term chronic diseases, such as Crohn’s disease.
Some researchers believe that mesenchymal stem cells are responsible for the restoration of the gut-microbiome composition. Stem cells release a number of regenerative and healing growth factors in the area that they are called to. If a patient has had a poor gut health for a long period of time, some of the tissue in the gut could be damaged. Stem cells could create an environment where healthy bacteria can thrive in the gut. The damaged tissue and cells throughout the gut could be repaired and revived by stem cells.
Stem cells have anti-inflammatory properties. There have been many studies that have shown that stem cells can reduce inflammation in a variety of circumstances. If the immune system is not attacking all types of bacteria, then the bacteria that can improve a patient’s health can thrive. This would result in more good microbes surviving in the gut. The tissue lining in the gut
will likely be in better shape as well. The immune system will not be busy attacking the tissue lining and will focus on the bad bacteria in the gut and other potential pathogens. Healthier tissue lining will ensure that the right bacteria is surviving in the gut.
Additionally, stem cells have little to no side effects for a wide variety of patients. There have been countless studies that have shown that stem cells cause little to no adverse reactions in patients who receive them, as long as they are administered properly and obtained from a proper source.
There are a few ways patients could receive stem cell therapy. Patients could receive stem cells directly into their gut via an injection or transplant, where the stem cells could make their magic work. Some patients could opt to receive stem cell therapy via an IV where the stem cells would make their way through the bloodstream to the gut. The only potential issue with this method is that the stem cells may end up in the wrong area of the body.
All of these reasons showcase why stem cell therapy is an attractive option for patients who are looking to improve their gut health. Stem cell therapy is not just a far off dream, there is real research to back up the claim that stem cell therapy can improve gut health.
There has been a good amount of research into how stem cells can aid in gut health. There have been several studies that have investigated how stem cells can solve some of the gut-related conditions. Researchers believe that stem cells can help fix the underlying problems in the gut that are causing chronic illnesses.
A few studies have looked at treating irritable bowel disease with stem cell therapy. One extremely interesting case study occurred in China, where a newborn child was treated with stem cell therapy. The child was diagnosed with very early onset irritable bowel syndrome, which actually led to the parent’s previous child passing away. Children with this disease are very malnourished and experience great amounts of pain. The parents were obviously very worried that the child would suffer the same fate as their sibling who sadly perished.
The child’s doctors decided to use a stem cell transplant on the child to lessen the severity of the disease. The procedure worked and the child was cured of the disease. The same procedure has been performed on eight other children at the same hospital in China. The gut microbiome is apparently very healthy in the child and they are living a normal life.
Another gastrointestinal disease that is likely caused by an unhealthy gut is Crohn’s disease. Researchers have been looking into treatments for this disease for decades. There is no known cure for the disease, but stem cells may hold the key to healing patients with this gut problem.
One study evaluated the use of bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells on Crohn’s patients that had experienced refractory perianal fistulizing. A fistula is an unintended connection between two organs. This can occur in the intestines of a Crohn’s patient. 23 patients were given stem cell therapy and then followed over the course of four years.
Only 15 patients were available for follow-up over the four year study period. The group that received the stem cell therapy had completely recovered from their fistulas. There were no adverse related events that were related to stem cell therapy. The study concluded that stem cell therapy would be effective for patients with Crohn’s disease that have refractory perianal fistulizing.
The stem cells may not be directly treating Crohn’s disease itself, but solving the underlying issue which is gut health. The gut may finally be able to produce enough good bacteria and get rid of the bad bacteria that is causing some of the symptoms related to Crohn’s disease.
Patients who are looking to improve their gut health may be able to use stem cell therapy to accomplish that task. The BioXcellerator team has been able to help patients who were looking to improve their gut health at our facility in Medellin Colombia.
Improving Patient’s Gut Health At BioXcellerator
The BioXcellerator team has worked with many patients to treat a variety of conditions and diseases. We have treated patients who were looking to specifically improve their gut health at our facility in Medellin, Colombia. These patients have tried all conventional treatment methods with no or little success. They are looking for alternative therapies in order to improve their gut health.
We have had several success stories where patients were able to improve their gut health by working with our medical team. Our team works with patients to develop a customized treatment plan that is tailored to their specific health needs. We work with patients to understand their individual case and we only recommend stem cell therapy if it works for them. The BioXcellerator team is focused on improving our patients’ quality of life.
We are continually driving stem cell therapy and science forward through our innovative research, so that we can continue to improve how we treat patients who are looking to improve their gut health. One way we do that is through a new form of stem cell treatment, that we call ‘golden cells.’
The quality of stem cells has been an issue in the stem cell industry for quite some time. Patients may receive suboptimal stem cell treatments depending on the stem cell clinic that they choose to use. Unfortunately, there are stem cell clinics who do not have the knowledge or skills to ensure that their stem cell treatments are of the highest quality. Fortunately, that is not the case at BioXcellerator.
The BioXcellerator team has developed an exceptional process that ensures our patients have access to the highest quality stem cells that are available to the scientific community. This process uses the most rigorous standards to separate the most potent stem cells from their less potent counterparts. These stem cells are known as ‘golden cells,’ because they are of the highest quality. Our team believes that these stem cells will make a difference in the quality of our treatments. BioXcellerator is dedicated to improving the lives of our patients and these high-quality stem cells should make a difference.
Improving your gut health can greatly improve your overall health and quality of life. Reach out to your healthcare provider today to learn more about potential treatment options that can help you improve the health of your gut. Stem cell therapy may be able to help improve your gut health and create a more diverse microbiome. The result could solve some of the underlying issues and create a higher quality of life.