Why Is Bacteria So Important For Proper Gut Function, and How Can This Be Assisted Through Feeding A Raw Diet?

E.coli bacteria

Bacteria is important for proper gut function as beneficial bacteria create an environment that promotes healthy epithelium.  The gut lining is filled with villi and these rely on ‘good’ bacteria to regenerate.  If the villi don’t regenerate well then the neurotransmitters and other chemicals that promote wellbeing and health will not have a place to call home.

The digestive tract is the largest immune reactive surface in the dog’s body, and is exposed daily to pathogens, viruses, bacteria and food particles.  If the environment is healthy then the immune function is strong and pathogens hold less of a threat for the dog.

When gut bacteria are the correct type and in balance (symbiosis):

Vitamins are made
Vegetable fibre is fermented
Harmful bacteria are inhibited
Toxins are broken down
The GI tract will allow for the absorption of vitamins, minerals and amino acids

If the gut is not in balance (dysbiosis) then this will lead to increased intestinal permeability (microscopic holes) of the gut lining, allowing abnormal absorption of certain toxic substances such as improperly digested food particles, bacteria, viruses and metabolic by-products which the dog is exposed to daily.

The gut needs to have ample ‘storage’ for all of the chemicals that are needed for optimum health and behaviour.  90% of the body’s serotonin is stored in the intestinal walls along with many other mood influencing substances.  Gut health and the chemicals stored here affect health and mood dramatically.  With a healthy epithelium the dog will show increased focus, strong immune function, good self-control, increased energy and be relaxed, sociable and friendly.

The dog’s diet either contributes to the production or the elimination of inflammatory responses.  What is fed either increases or decreases gut permeability, thereby altering nutrient absorption and overall health. 

Abnormal gut fermentation of excessive amounts of grains (complex carbohydrates) can cause an overgrowth of yeast and unfriendly bacteria.

Foods that are too high in insoluble fibre (fillers such as cellulose and beat pulp can also cause a physiologic barrier to nutrient absorption by inhibiting nutrients from coming into contact with the mucosal surface.

A raw diet naturally contains ‘good’ bacteria and help keep the digestive system healthy by controlling the growth of harmful bacteria.

A raw diet also create the correct pH to promote the good bacteria.

See also The Microbiome in The Dog's Digestive System

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