Gut Health

Did Your Gut Bacteria Give You Food Poisoning?


If you've ever had a severe bout of food poisoning, you know it is absolutely miserable. Few things feel worse than gripping that porcelain god, begging for it to be over. While about 1.2 million people make it through Salmonella food poisoning on their own, 23,000 individuals end up in the hospital, and 450 lives are claimed each year. 1

Salmonella usually makes the news when there is a widespread infection from a contaminated food source. But this fairly common cause of food poisoning usually affects people without them realizing Salmonella is to blame. Most people are only sick for a few days and recover without the need for hospital treatment.

Research shows that some people may be more susceptible to food poisoning caused by Salmonella when their microbiomes don't contain specific bacteria that can potentially protect them from infection.

In a recent study published in the journal Cell Host & Microbe, Stanford University School of Medicine researchers found that propionate, a short-chain fatty acid produced by bacteria found in healthy gut microbiomes, can help protect against  Salmonella infections. 2

Doctors have always known that some people could fight off Salmonella infections better than others, and this study suggests that propionate producing microbes just might be the reason why.

Interestingly, propionate doesn't prevent Salmonella infection by sounding the alarm and telling the immune system to attack. Instead, propionate takes care of the infectious situation itself. Propionate interferes with Salmonella's ability to divide and grow by increasing the internal acidity of the microbe.

"Collectively, our results show that when concentrations of propionate, which is produced by Bacteroides, in the gut are high, Salmonella are unable to raise their internal pH to facilitate cellular functions required for growth," said Amanda Jacobson, the paper's lead author and a graduate student in microbiology and immunology. 3

So, now that we know propionate assists in preventing Salmonella-related food poisoning, the next obvious question is, where does it come from and how do we make sure our gut microbes produce beneficial propionate?

The Protective Powers of Propionate

Propionate is one of the most common short-chain fatty acids produced by a healthy gut microbiome. This beneficial by-product is mostly created by bacteria in the Bacteroides genus. Not only are Bacteroides strains responsible for producing propionate, people who have a wider variety from this family within their gut are more likely to be lean. 4 Propionate promotes a healthy weight by stimulating fullness and fighting inflammation. [5,6]

That's triple good news!

Before you start looking for ways to colonize your microbiome with Bacteroides, you should know that just like so many other bacteria in our gut microbiome, Bacteroides are not all bad or all good. 7 It's even more complicated than that because the gut microbiota contains different species and strains that make up complex ecosystems with each microorganism potentially impacting how other microbes functions.

When you think about your gut microbiome, compare its complexity to a community of people. People are very different, and we all have our good days and our bad days. How we behave and feel depends on who else is around. In this way, our gut microbes are just like us. To get our gut microbiome in balance, so it's strong enough to resist outside invaders, we have to take a step back and look at the big picture.

This is where Viome comes in.

When it comes to the health of your gut microbiome, it's all about balance. A healthy gut microbiome can produce critical short-chain fatty acids needed for important processes like decreasing inflammation and preventing pathogens, such as Salmonella, from blooming (multiplying).

Viome is a one-of-a-kind gut microbiome test that uses metatranscriptomic technology and artificial intelligence to customize your food recommendations so you can boost microbial diversity and increase overall stability in your gut microbiome. Our recommendations are specifically targeted at supporting your gut microbes, so they can produce more beneficial short-chain fatty acids like butyrate, acetate, and propionate.

Viome is a simple 3-minute at-home test that results in a wealth of information about your personal gut microbiome. Our customers are reporting incredible success stories, here are just a few:

"Viome has been life-changing. I've been sick for the last 2 years. Been prescribed different medications to mask the real problem. Viome provided the proof of a major infection. If you can get this test – do it – don't wait." –Talya

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"Sent away for your kit. Got my results. Within a few days of eating from your list I started to feel better... I had chronic diarrhea for months and was desperate to learn about my microbiome. I exercise every day. So far in two months, I have lost 12 lbs. I feel better... more energy, sleeping better etc." –Beth

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We are excited to hear what your Viome results will do for you – get started today.