Sunday , January 29 2023
Intestinal Bacteria
Intestinal Bacteria. Source: Independent Nurse

Intestinal Bacteria: A Tale of Two Starches

Structurally speaking, starch found in plants appears as either a many branched chain called amylopectin or as a straight-chained variety called amylose. Amylopectin-rich foods common to our diet include sticky rice and waxy varieties of corn and potatoes. Foods containing high levels of amylose include beans and other legumes and whole grains. Although both are starches, they produce markedly different effects when we eat them.

In the small intestine, enzymes rapidly convert amylopectin into glucose, which is the preferred carbohydrate for many essential metabolic reactions our cells conduct. By contrast, amylose’s structure has less surface area for enzymes to react with, making it more resistant to digestion. Since it isn’t easily broken down in our small intestine, the amylose starch continues through the gastrointestinal tract to the colon, where it’s available for bacteria living there to ferment.

You might assume that amylopectin, the starch that is easily broken down, must be the best type for us to eat. However, feeding our microbiome amylose seems to provide excellent health benefits. Amylose fermenting bacteria, including members of the Prevotella and Lachnospira genera, produce short-chain fatty acids. Several types of these molecules are important players in how our intestinal cells absorb electrolytes (ions).

Research also suggests that butyrate, one type of short-chain fatty acid linked to Prevotella metabolism, may protect us against colorectal cancer. In another study, mice were treated with antibiotics and then inoculated with pathogenic Clostridium difficile bacteria. What happened to the animals next was stark: some rapidly developed lethal infections, while others were colonized by the bacteria and experienced only mild disease. The fate of the study mice seemed to come down to their microbiome composition before C. difficile was introduced. Mice with large numbers of Lachnospira bacteria were more likely to survive, whereas those with intestinalPrevotella dominated by E. coli were much more likely to die.

About Fahmida Akter Bristi

I am currently doing my Bachelor degree. I love to write by exploring knowledge that is new to me. Hope this effort of mine benefits you all. Right now, I am the head of Project R. Franklin & Project Waksman in Society & Science Foundation. Knock me anytime. Email: fahmidabristi683@gmail.com

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