Do you know that your body contains 40 quintillions bacterial cells? That's 33% more than human cells, which means you're closer to being a bacterium than a human. What's more, there are over 1,000 types of bacteria in your intestines, each of which plays a different role. However, this is not all that lives in you. Find out how important these 2 kilograms of microorganisms are in your intestines. Check what a microbiome is and why you need it so much!
Microorganisms in your body, such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and archaea, create your microbiota. In turn, the genes found in the microbiota make up the microbiome, although these terms are commonly used alternately. Interestingly, only 1/3 of the microbiome connects you with other people. The remaining 2/3 are different in every person and decide about his health, illness and even behavior.
What happens in the microbiota can be compared to a superhero movie. Bacteria, fungi, viruses and archaea are members of a group with different powers. Unfortunately, there are also bad bacteria, viruses, fungi and archaea. Both teams are fighting each other. The majority team wins. However, sometimes even members of a "good" team become angry when they get to the wrong place or multiply too much.
It would be hard for humanity to survive without it. For this reason, scientists speculate that humans already have the first contact with bacteria in utero thanks to the mother's microbiome. Everyone is sure, however, that contact with bacteria occurs at the time of delivery (especially by traditional route). Babies born by caesarean section may have a higher risk of asthma or type I diabetes precisely because of the lack of contact with bacteria from the mother's genital tract.
After delivery, the newborn's microbiome becomes more and more complex. Breastfeeding plays an important role in this for at least the first 6 months. There are beneficial bacteria from the Bifidobacteria strain in breast milk. Unfortunately, ready-made milk mixtures do not contain as many strains of bacteria. According to research, people with a diverse microbiome enjoy better health.
Beneficial bacteria not only come from breast milk, but also help digest them, as does fiber, which is a breeding ground for these bacteria. This real symbiosis with some foods suggests that they are good for health.
Let's get to the advantages of having a rich microbiome.
The microbiome affects the course of both diseases. Scientists speculate that the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome may be due to a predominance of adverse bacteria in the intestines. Bad bacteria produce gases and other chemicals that cause discomfort.
Preferred strains of Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli act as a patch on intestinal cells. Particular benefits in irritable bowel syndrome are given by individual strains of Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli, which relieve gas, abdominal pain, diarrhea and constipation.
A healthy microbiome communicates with intestinal cells, digests some food products and prevents the attachment of pathogenic bacteria to the intestinal wall.
This surprising fact is associated with an increase in "healthy" HDL cholesterol and a decrease in triglycerides, but not only. Bacteria from the Lactobacilli strain, taken in the form of a probiotic, reduce total cholesterol.
Unfortunately, it also works the other way around. Adverse bacteria replace choline and L-carnitine, chemical compounds with proven positive effects on the body, on trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO). It blocks the arteries, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke. However, probiotics with beneficial bacteria lower cholesterol while reducing the risk of heart disease.
The effect of the microbiome on your health is sometimes obvious and sometimes surprising. Do you want to know its next properties? Take a look at the second part of the microbiota article!