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Does Vibration Improve Gut Health?

Updated: May 7

Whole body vibration appears to improve many symptoms of type II diabetes mellitus, wherein glucose and destructive inflammation shoots up. The procedure helps the body use glucose as an energy source, and at the same time, modify the microbiome to fight inflammation, a new study says.

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Medical College of Georgia and Dental College of Georgia at Augusta University, studied how whole body vibration (WBV) can decrease the inflammatory response by increasing the number of macrophages, which are cells that work by inducing or warding off inflammation.

Published in the International Journal of Molecular Science, the study shows how the investigators tried to study how the procedure altered the microbiome, which is a collective term pertaining to a group of microorganisms in the body that work by protecting from foreign invaders. In the gut, the microbiome promotes healthy digestion.

Dysbiosis is a condition wherein there is an imbalance in the bacteria found in the gut. As a result, it will cause digestive disturbance symptoms. These include diarrhea, constipation, bloating, and indigestion, to name a few.

The gut microbiome and inflammation

There are trillions of microbes living in the digestive tract, with 300 to 1,000 species of bacteria. They play vital roles in homeostasis in many body systems, like the immune system.

Dysbiosis is a condition wherein the gut microbiome becomes imbalanced, like when the bad bacteria overpowering the good ones. Also, many studies have linked the gut microbiome to several inflammatory conditions.

Moreover, increased available glucose to the macrophages may trigger a feed forward loops, which enhances inflammation and aggravates hyperglycemia and insulin resistance. These ultimately lead to diabetes.

In the procedure, the investigators witnessed changes, which included increasing levels of a bacterial that creates short chain fatty acids to aid in the better utilization of glucose. There are other changes noticed, but the most important one they documented was the 17-fold boost in the bacteria, dubbed as Alistipes.

The Alistipes is a type of gut bacterium that’s proficient in producing short chain fatty acids and reducing gut inflammation. Also, the bacteria type aids in the fermentation of food without making alcohol, which enhances the metabolic status of the gastrointestinal tract, making people more capable of using the glucose for energy.

The researchers thought that giving a dose of the bacterium and a 10-minute versus 20-minute duration of whole body vibration, might work in reducing inflammation. Eventually, this could open the doors to many other treatment options for certain conditions caused by inflammation. In fact, the researchers noted that when Alistipes increased in number, glucose-use and macrophages, can cause a good chain reaction.

To land to their findings, the researchers used a mouse model for type 2 diabetes, wherein the circulating blood sugar levels are high. They wanted to determine if the whole-body vibration influences the inflammatory status of macrophages and the variety of the gut bacteria.

The macrophages that promote inflammation are called M1, and those that suppress, or halt inflammation is called M2. These macrophages play a pivotal role in the regulation of the inflammatory response. The inflammatory status of the macrophages affects the gut microbiome, and the other way around.

They found that there is a marked increase in M2s, including other anti-inflammatory molecules such as the cytokine IL-10, both in the healthy and diabetic mouse. In fact, they found that whole body vibration has restored M2 to normal levels.

The study is the first one to document the relationship between the body’s innate immunity and the microbiome, by changing the macrophage mix with whole body vibration. The researchers note that it’s still not feasible to determine whether the macrophage or microbiome shift comes first, however, they believe that making glucose more available to macrophages promotes insulin resistance and inflammation, which can ultimately lead to diabetes.

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