Your Gut Bacteria Gets Jet Lag, Too

Sponsored by DiaResQ

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Written by Dr. Alan Greene, MD

Many processes in our bodies are orchestrated on a 24-hour schedule called the circadian rhythm.

When we travel between time zones faster than our internal clock can adjust, we experience jet lag – which means our internal clock is out of sync with local time. We notice this with difficulty being alert during the day and trouble sleeping at night. We might not notice it, but our physical and mental performance may be impaired as well.

Fellow Travelers

We carry within our gut about 100 trillion bacteria, each with their own internal clock. The composition and function of our gut bacteria changes predictably over the course of the day. Normally, these bacteria, our immune system, and our internal clock all communicate with each other and sync up.

When we travel rapidly between time zones, our bacterial schedule can be in disarray – just like the rest of us.

Traveler’s Diarrhea: It’s Not Just Contaminated Food or Water

Getting exposed to bacteria like Salmonella is more likely to cause infection at certain times of day. Experts now think that disrupting the circadian rhythm, whether by jet lag, shift work, or blue light in the evening, can make people more susceptible to gut infections.

Several times I’ve gotten traveler’s diarrhea after a long red-eye flight. This is not unusual. Sanitation and hygiene are not the whole story with traveler’s diarrhea.

Mother Nature’s Solution to Traveler’s Diarrhea

In babies, breast milk and colostrum are among the most effective ways to prevent and treat diarrhea. Both colostrum and breast milk contain potent ingredients that protect against infections while nourishing the lining of the gut.

But beyond that, there are hundreds of ingredients in colostrum and breast milk that the baby can’t digest. These prebiotics nourish the bacteria in the gut – and signal the immune system in the gut lining.

About Dr. Alan Greene, MD

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Dr. Alan Greene is a pioneering pediatrician, best-selling author, national and international TEDx speaker. Dr. Greene serves as Chief Pediatric Advisor for DiaResQ.