It’s official; vaping results in more ‘good bacteria’ taking root in your gut than smoking does. That’s to say, your gut bacteria balance (or the microbiome, as it’s sometimes referred to, is balanced favourably, the scales tipped in the favour of the ‘good bacteria’ – the micro-organisms that enter our body/ the body develops and do your gut, digestive system and every part of the rest of your body good (e.g. probiotics) – as opposed to the ‘bad bacteria’ – the gut’s micro-organisms that are harmful and can cause/ carry infection, viruses and diseases etc. to different parts of the body). So, this is good news for vaping e liquid and all vapers out there then? You betcha!

Because, pleasingly enough, as vaping’s threatening to become more fashionable among youngsters but especially the cool crowd than even smoking, many people have become wary of its supposed health hazards. So, this latest research courtesy of the UK’s Newcastle University couldn’t be better timed – yes, it categorically states that vaping doesn’t appear to be as harmful as smoking, when it comes to your gut bacteria, in particular.

The study and the results

The study from which the results were drawn were published in late April this year shows that vaping doesn’t have the same illness-inducing effect on the bacteria of the gut as smoking tobacco-packed, toxic tar-featuring cigarettes. The microbiome – again. the naturally occurring micro-organisms to be found in the human digestive tract – has quickly become a subject of intense research in recent years, which explains its strong linkage to a wide array of physical and mental health issues and conditions.

“The bacterial cells in our body outnumber our own human cells and our microbiome weighs more than our brain, yet we are only just beginning to understand its importance on our health,” the study’s lead author Dr Christopher Stewart explained in a statement published in addition to the results of the research.

The research itself saw bacterial samples taken from 30 people (10 of them smoked conventional cigarettes, 10 vaped via e-cig devices and the final 10 were non-smokers/ non-vapers). Then, via the genetical-sequencing of faecal matter and saliva, and cheek samples taken from each subject, the bacterial composition within and throughout each of their bodies was examined.

Following this, the eventual findings invited the separating of the test subjects into two distinct camps; while smokers showed increased gut levels of Prevotella (a bacteria species of that too often suggests a higher incidence and, therefore, risk of developing colon cancer and colitis) and a suppression of Bacteroides (a beneficial probiotic species of), the vapers, conversely, showed similar microbial characteristics as the non-smoking/ non-vaping test subjects.

What more might the results say?

Now sure, research into both the microbiome and into vaping (let alone into both of them together) is pretty much in its infancy, yet it’s true that microbial studies have already given up a welter of data on the critical role the human microbiome plays in total physical (and other) health. For instance, it’s been proved that the balance of a gut’s bacteria can genuinely alter mood through the vagus nerve (which is what connects the brain and the gut). Indeed, researchers at Harvard University have discovered that professional sports athletes possess different gut bacteria, which has led to speculation that it may be possible to boost athletic performance by positively altering an athlete’s microbiome.

“More investigation is needed,” Stewart admitted in his statement. “But to find that vaping is less-damaging than smoking on our gut bacteria adds to the incentive to change to e-cigarettes and for people to use them as a tool to quit smoking completely”.

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