Addiction to alcohol was considered a disease where the changes in the physiology of the brain was to be blamed. This is no longer the case. A recent study claims that an imbalance in the bacterial composition in the intestine is associated with an addiction to alcohol and a relapse of alcoholism post the treatment.
The gut bacteria is responsible for a person’s well being
Our digestive tract inhabits a host of bacteria and microbes that form a community called the gut microbiota. This spectrum of bacteria is required to maintain good digestion, healthy immune system, a sound mental system and much more. It is these bacteria which synthesize vitamins such as vitamin K, B.
Many factors are responsible for the maintenance of gut flora
The growth and maintenance of the intestinal bacteria are determined by different factors. A healthy diet is good enough to maintain a good gut flora while a diet which is rich in sugar and processed food can cause an imbalance in the gut microbiota. Alcohol, stress, aging and pollution are other factors that can cause an imbalance.
People with less gut bacteria can become alcoholics
According to studies conducted by scientists, people with less intestinal bacteria were susceptible to become alcoholics and the odds of getting back into alcohol after a rehab was much higher. People with fewer bacteria in the intestine had immense cravings for alcohol and were victims of anxiety and depression as the mental system could not function well due to the presence of less gut bacteria.
Studies were performed to determine a connection to addiction
The purpose of performing a test was to establish a connection between gut flora and addiction to alcohol. Out of the alcoholic subjects that were chosen for the study, nearly half the subjects experienced leaking gut syndrome and a low level of intestinal bacteria.
The results of the studies helped to understand the effects
Studies helped scientists to understand the relationship between gut flora and the well-being. Post the test, the subjects were sent to a rehab and they all recovered well with good diet to nourish the gut microbiota. The test helped to establish the fact that a person’s well-being and the odds of relapse were associated with the balance in the gut flora.
Alcohol consumption can cause SIBO
Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) is caused due to consumption of alcohol even on a moderate level. SIBO causes abdominal pain, diarrhea and even constipation in people who consume alcohol. People with SIBO have huge numbers of bacteria present in the small intestine and these bacteria make use of nutrients for its growth which should otherwise be used to nourish the body.
Several diseases can be contracted due to the presence or lack of certain intestinal bacteria
The presence or more than required amount or even lesser than required number of certain intestinal bacteria can cause diseases. Inflammatory bowel diseases can happen. Disorders like obesity and cancer in the colon are caused by metabolites from certain bacteria. A bacteria called Helicobacter pylori is responsible for causing stomach ulcer. Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis can also be caused due to interaction of the gut microbes with the gut-brain axis. Liver disease has been linked with an imbalance in the gut flora.
Studies have still not made a conclusive connection
Though the studies have pointed out a relation between the bacteria in the gut and an addiction for alcohol, it is still not clear to scientists whether it is right to establish a connection. Studies performed on mice have shown considerable relation between cravings for alcohol and the bacterial composition and imbalance in bacterial flora in the gut. Further studies and advanced research still needs to be done to find out the connection between the brain and the gut.
- Alcohol addiction may be caused due to an imbalance in the gut flora.
- A good balance in the gut flora can help in maintaining good health.
- Several factors are responsible for altering the balance.
- A healthy diet can promote rich gut flora.
- Those with less intestinal bacteria can become alcoholics.
- Many alcoholics were studied to establish a connection between gut flora and addiction.
- The results showed a connection between the two.
- Small amount of alcohol consumption can cause SIBO.
- Imbalance can also cause several diseases.
- More research still needs to be done to establish connection between gut flora and the brain.
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