The Microbes In Your Body That You Could Not Live Without.
What exactly are good bacteria in our gut flora that we all cannot live without? It is certainly more than just what we may discover in probiotic yoghurt. Our gut microbiota contains tens of trillions of microorganisms, including at least 1000 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. Their function is to help the body to digest certain foods that the stomach and small intestine have not been able to digest, and with the production of some vitamins (B and K). They also help us combat aggressions from other microorganisms, maintaining the wholeness of the intestinal mucosa, playing an important role in the immune system, and performing a barrier effect. However, babies are born sterile; that is, intestine colonisation starts right after birth and evolves as we grow. This rather illuminating article by Adam Rutherford for the BBC Future spells out our healthy dependence on these trillions of microbes. The larger the microbial diversity we possess, the healthier we are, that is, the good guys that go by such names as Akkermansia, Christensenellaceae, Methanobrevibacter and Oxalobacter, to name a few. Try more kefir, miso soup, and kimchi. Perhaps better tasting would be garlic, artichokes, bananas, and whole grains.
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