Scientific research has shown that the state of our health is directly tied to the state of our gut. Our gut is colonized by trillions of microorganisms, that are collectively known as the gut microbiome or gut microbiota. These organisms, mainly comprised of bacteria, help to regulate many important functions in the body, such as digestive health, immune function, mood, mental health and more.
The health and balance of this microbial community is tied to the health and balance of our body and mind overall. Essential to maintaining our gut health is to maintain a particular balance within the gut microbiome. The ideal balance if 90% beneficial or “good” bacteria and 10% “bad” bacteria. When this balance is disrupted, it creates an imbalance in the gut known as dysbiosis. From this imbalance, many health issues can arise.
Methane Producing Bacteria in Gut Microbiome
The good bacteria in our gut help to protect us from other invading pathogens and prevent the growth of harmful organisms like Candida, parasites and pathogenic bacteria. When there is an imbalance in the gut and the number of these good bacteria is reduced, it can allow harmful organisms to grow out of control.
One such organism is a type of bacteria that can produce methane gas in the gut. Researchers have found that the predominant methane-producing microbe, or methanogen, in the human gastrointestinal tract (GI) is Methanobrevibacter smithii (M. smithii).
According to research by Cedars Sinai, a nonprofit academic healthcare organization, people with high methane levels in the gut are more likely to be obese. Methane production in the gut has also been found to be associated with functional bowel disease such as constipation and bloating, as well as obesity and reduced weight loss following bariatric surgery.
Methane Producing Bacteria in Gut Symptoms
The typical symptoms of an increase of methane in the gut are:
- abdominal pain
How to Reduce Methane in the Gut Naturally
In order to reduce methane levels in the gut, it is necessary to reestablish a healthy balance in the gut microbiome. When the gut is colonized by friendly bacteria, these bacteria will help to control and prevent the growth of methane producing bacteria such as M. smithii.
Adding fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, and yogurt is a great first step to take to begin to correct this imbalance. At the same time, slowly increase your intake of fiber, plants, and complex carbohydrates such as honey, leeks, cabbage, and beans to feed the good bacteria.
Probiotic supplements can also work quickly and efficiently to help correct gut flora imbalance. Probiotic supplements have corrected many cases of chronic diarrhea, constipation and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), which are often at the core of more serious conditions including acute gut damage and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).
When choosing a probiotic, look for a multi-strain probiotic supplement, as this will contain a variety of species that can help to establish a healthy balance in the gut. It is also recommended to choose a supplement that contains more than 1 billion live bacteria per capsule. Additionally, it’s important that the supplement you choose has a coating to ensure the capsule bypasses your stomach acid and is released in the intestine to restore proper balance.
Methane in the gut can cause uncomfortable symptoms like gas, bloating, diarrhea and constipation. It can also increase your risk of weight gain and obesity. To prevent methane in the gut, focus on establishing a healthy gut microbiome that will prevent methane producing bacteria from colonizing the gut.