Inflammation is a hot topic. It is implicated in our most serious and debilitating ailments, from heart disease and diabetes to arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease. Make no mistake: acute inflammation is an important part of our healing response. However, chronic inflammation represents an immune response that is out of balance.

There is still debate on whether chronic inflammation is the origin or a promoter of disease, but reducing inflammation is an important step in restoring health.

Role of intestinal flora

We may not realize that our intestinal flora can be a driver of inflammation. Gut-associated inflammation has been linked to insulin resistance, some forms of cancer, and even mental health concerns.

The trillions of bacteria that live within our gut have an intimate connection to our immune system, helping to strike a balance between tolerance and regulation. One type of bacteria that can cause inflammation is gram-negative bacteria.

Gram-negative bacteria incite inflammation

Some gram-negative bacteria exist naturally in a balance with gram-positive bacteria in our gut. But excessive or harmful gram-negative bacteria may appear due to an infection or in response to poor lifestyle choices, such as a high-fat, low-fibre diet.

Gram-negative bacteria have molecules in their cell walls called lipopolysaccharides (LPS), which are a little like a coat of gnarly armour. If the barrier function of the gut is diminished (which can result from a high-fat, high-sugar diet, stress, or other causes), these LPS can enter the bloodstream, where they incite an inflammatory response.

Click here to read the article By Desiree Nielsen, BSc, RD