Gut bacteria plays a key role in body's self-defense

Gut bacteria plays a key role in body's self-defense

Scientists in Sweden have discovered that human intestinal flora regulate the levels of the body's main antioxidant, glutathione, which fights a host of diseases.

Published in the scientific journal, Molecular Systems Biology researchers show that Gut microbiota regulate your glutathione and amino acid metabolism—not only in the small intestine but also in the liver and the colon.

The small intestine is host to more than 1,000 known different species of bacteria. Some of these microbiota were found to be consume glycine, which is one of the three amino acids required for the synthesis of the body's glutathione.

In a test with bacteria-free mice, the researchers measured the level of the amino acids in the portal vein, the main vessel that drains blood from the gastrointestinal tract and spleen to the liver. They found a lower level of glycine in the liver and colon tissues, which indicated that the gut bacteria regulates glutathione metabolism in those organs, too.

The link between gut bacteria and glutathione metabolism could lead to the development of food products that can deliver beneficial bacteria, or probiotics, to the gut," author says.