Over the past 10 years or so, Americans have begun to realize how important gut health is to total health.
It all started when research on probiotics was first released.
Researchers discovered the human gut was filled with all different kinds of bacteria. Some of the bacteria were bad… and some were good.
The good bacteria, called probiotics, helped to positively influence gut health which has a wide and far-reaching effect on many systems inside the human body.
When physicians and nutritionists first discovered this and started telling people to eat bacteria, the general population responded with disgust.
Just as they are now as physicians and nutritionists are telling people to eat the dried up carcasses of insects for better gut health.
A recent study by researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison found ingesting crickets was an incredible way to boost natural levels of probiotics already present in the gut.
The research was led by Valerie Stull, who only took interest in inects as food after taking a trop to Central America. As she said “I was on a trip with my parents in Central America and we were served fried ants,” she recounts. “I remember being so grossed out initially, but when I put the ant in my mouth, I was really surprised because it tasted like food — and it was good!” she adds.
To find out if crickets (or insects) were good for probiotic health Stull and her team asked 20 people ranging 18-48 in age to try two different diets over the course of 4 weeks.
For the first 2 weeks one group had a regular (control) diet for breakfast..
The second group, had a cricket breakfast diet for the first 2 weeks.
At the conclusion of the 2 weeks both groups ate the control diet for 2 weeks.
Once those 2 weeks were over the first group ate the cricket breakfast for 2 weeks and the second group ate the cricket breakfast.
The cricket breakfast consisted of muffins or shakes made with 25 grams of powdered crickets.
At the conclusion of the 6 week study the researchers took blood and fecal samples as well as collecting information about the participants’ gastrointestinal health during the entire study. .
Using a three-point analysis they asked them how their guts felt at the start of the study, after the first 2-week switch the very end of the study.
They analyzed the samples and searched for relevant biomarkers such as blood sugars, markers indicating liver health, signs of inflammation, and changes in the gut microbiota.
Medical news today writes.
They found no significant changes to the health of the participants’ gastrointestinal health, and no modifications to bacterial gut populations.
There was no evidence of changes to the participants’ levels of gut inflammation either, and the volunteers reported no side effects due to their respective diets. However, the researchers did observe two notable changes following the integration of crickets into the participants’ diets.
First, they saw that levels of a metabolic enzyme tied to better gut health had increased to some extent. Then, they noticed that levels a blood protein linked to inflammation — TNF-alpha — had decreased.
Higher levels of TNF-alpha, the researchers add, are often seen in depression and even cancer.
Moreover, Stull and colleagues observed a certain increase in the populations of good gut bacteria, such as Bifidobacterium animalis.
Stull says that part of the reason a switch to crickets and other insects would be ideal for gut health is because they contain a type of fiber that’s unavailable in fruits and vegetables.
This fiber, known as chitin, helps feed probiotics which can help restore a dead gut… or enhance an already healthy gut.