Gut microbiota (formerly called gut flora) is the name given today to the microbe population living in our intestine. It contains tens of trillions of microorganisms, including at least 1,000 different species of known bacteria with more than 3 million genes (150 times more than human genes). Microbiota can, in total, weigh up to 2 kg. One third of our gut microbiota is common to most people, while two thirds are specific to each one of us. In other words, the microbiota in your intestine is like an individual identity card.
While each of us has a unique microbiota, it always fullfils the same physiological functions and they have a direct impact on our health:
Bacteria line your intestines and help you digest food. During digestion, they make vitamins that are vital for life, send signals to the immune system, and make small molecules that can help your brain work.
Ongoing research reveals that people with certain diseases often have a very different mix of bacteria in their intestines compared to healthier people. Researchers are working to define the makeup of gut bacteria in a healthy person vs. the gut bacteria that can point to higher risk or presence of certain diseases.
The use of Probiotics can be beneficial in controlling the bacteria in the gut. However, while consumers have hundreds of choices, their use should be regulated by a physician.
The Digestive CARE Center of Excellent CARE in Microbiome focuses on understanding the growing area of science focusing on the link between the bacteria in our intestines and virtually every disease that ails us.
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