Have you ever considered the fact that you may be home to a biome? On both the inside and out, our bodies are home to a huge variety of micro-organisms. Alongside bacteria, the human body contains single-celled organisms known as archaea, fungi, viruses and other microbes. The human microbiota contains 10-100 trillion of these microbes. The body’s microbiome is all the genes your microbiota contains; most of these microbes live in your gut.
Functions of Gut Microbiota
You might be wondering: why most of these microbes are in your gut? The gut microbiota contains over 3 million genes, making 150 times more genetically diverse than the human body. Since everyone’s gut microbiota is unique, it heavily affects a person’s immune and digestive systems, and can go as far as effecting their mood and psychological processes. However, some microbes also include “bad” bacteria that can spread and cause infections (such as food poisoning)
What Can Affect Gut Microbiota?
Considering the major role gut microbiota plays in the normal functions of
the body and the different jobs it does, some experts consider it an “organ.” However, babies are born without any gut microbiota; it starts developing right after birth and changes as we grow. Therefore, the microbiota’s balance changes during the aging process, so the elderly have a noticeably different gut microbiota to younger adults. The compositions of our microbiota are often caused by our environment and our diet. As a result, the composition of your gut microbiota may become used to certain dietary components, either temporarily or permanently. Even though it can adapt to change, a loss of balance in the gut microbiota is possible. Consequently, causing a condition called Dysbiosis. Dysbiosis may be
linked to various health problems such as functional bowl disorders, obesity and diabetes.
Keeping Healthy Gut Microbiota
Recently, new studies have shown the positive effects of probiotics and prebiotics on our gut microbiota. Serving as “food” for beneficial bacteria, prebiotics help improve the functions of microbiota, while allowing the “good” bacteria to flourish. Found in food products, such as yogurt, probiotics help keep its balance, integrity and diversity. The health and balance of your gut microbiota has an influence on both your mental and physical health. If you haven’t ever thought about your gut health before, there’s no better time like the present!