Most people consider microbes as germs, but truth is trillions of microbes that live in our gut execute many functional roles – aid in digestion, keep a check on infectious agents, boost immunity, synthesize many vitamins, play a key role in maintaining Hormone balance and Brain function.
So they are for sure our ‘Friends’
“Taking into account the major role gut microbiota plays in the normal functioning of the body and the different functions it accomplishes, experts nowadays consider it as an “organ”
Quick facts about our ‘Friends’ Microbiota
- Healthy adult humans each typically harbor more than 1000 species of bacteria
- Microbiota can, in total, weigh up to 2 kg
- ‘Gut feelings’ indeed seems to be a true phrase as researchers have found connection between gut microbiome and human behavior and emotion
- Two thirds of the gut microbiome is unique to each person, and what makes this unique is the food we eat, the air we breathe and other environmental factors.
- The initial composition of the gut microbiota depends on the mode of delivery: babies delivered vaginally harbour gut microbiota resembling microbial communities found in their mothers’ vaginas, whereas those born via Cesarean section apparently acquire microbes from the skin, dominated by taxa such as Propionibacterium and Staphylococcus
- Formula fed babies have less of good microbes compared to breast fed babies, giving them a healthier edge over the other. Gut of breastfed babies primarily consists of Bifidobacteria – considered a “friendly” bacteria that benefits the gut
- Infants with less diverse gut bacteria at the age of 3 months were more likely to be prone to food allergies
- By the age of 3, microbiota becomes stable and similar to that of adults, continuing its evolution at a steadier rate throughout life
- Researchers have found a certain strain of bacteria – Christensenellaceae minuta – that cause the animals to gain less weight, indicating the bacteria could be used to reduce or prevent obesity
- The predominant bacterial groups in the microbiome are gram positive Firmicutes and gram negative Bacteroidetes
- People treated with prolonged courses of antibiotics that kill a wide spectrum of bacteria can develop life-threatening diarrhoea due to an overgrowth of Clostridium difficile
Microbiome and Disease state
Each of us have a complex ecosystem of bacteria located within our gut and we call them microbiome or gut microbiota. The vast majority of the bacterial species that make up our microbiome live in our digestive systems. Some researchers believe that up to 90 percent of all diseases can be traced in some way back to the gut and health of the microbiome. Poor gut health can contribute to leaky gut syndrome and autoimmune diseases and disorders like arthritis, dementia, heart disease, and cancer.