Gut Bacteria: How to have a balanced Gut Bacteria
What are Gut Bacteria?
What is Gut Microbiota & why is it important?
Imagine the Amazon rainforest. It’s green, it’s majestic and it’s incredibly vast. It’s estimated that the Amazon rainforest contains about 400 billion trees – enough to deserve the name ‘Lungs of the Planet.’
Now try to imagine the same amount of life – but within yourself! It might seem beyond belief, but you harbour trillions of live microorganisms within your body. Not billions, but trillions. Yep, that’s a trillion with 12 zeroes. Intrigued? Read on!
Unbeknown to you, your body plays host to an entire microcosm of existence that is beyond the seeing eye. In more relatable terms, you’re bustling with microorganisms that add up to 1000 times the number of humans on Earth. That’s 100 times more than the number of stars in our galaxy. A whopping 95% of these microorganisms live in your gut! This incredible amount of gut bacteria surprisingly coexist in mutual harmony and are necessary for the proper functioning of our entire body.
Your gut microbiota is essential to your health, helping with digestion of food and absorption of nutrients. From birth to old age, gut microbiota diversity is dynamic and considered a marker of a functioning microbiota.
Microbiota? Bacteria? What are Gut Bacteria?
There are hundreds of species of bacteria in your gut, collectively forming an imperative part of your gut microbiota, also known as bacterial flora. These are important for your health, with around 150 different species living in the gut of any one individual, and altogether counting more than 1000 species for all human beings put together. Super unique to each person is the composition and quantities of these bacteria. These may evolve over time.
Much like a fingerprint, your unique gut microbiota identifies you as an individual, but this composition is quite dynamic. There are many factors that could alter the diversity and composition of your gut microbiota, such as(1):
Lifestyle – this encompasses everything physical activity to stress
Diet – it is important to ensure a healthy balanced diet
Environment – this includes levels of pollution in your surrounding too
Medication – whether or not you’re taking antibiotics, for example
Your gut microbiota is happiest in harmony mode, supporting your enjoyment of good health and wellness.
Types of gut bacteria
There are various gut bacteria types, and they all play an important part in the human body. Bacteria, like all organisms (including us), have names and surnames, and they belong to families. The science of naming organisms is called taxonomy and works like a classification system. This way, bacteria can be identified, named, and sorted by common characteristics. Living inside your gut are 150 different kinds of bacteria containing nearly 10 million genes. Your body’s gut microbiota is unique, with different factors that typify it, such as your birth delivery, if you were breastfed, and your current diet and lifestyle.
Researchers have found that the dominant species of bacteria in the gut include Bacteroides, Clostridium, Fusobacterium, Eubacterium, Ruminococcus, Peptococ us, Peptostreptococcus and Bifidobacterium. Others like Escherichia and Lactobacillus are also present in the gut but to a lower degree. Of course there are more different species of bacteria that are yet to be identified, but have been evading scientists owing to the fact that they cannot be cultured in vitro.
Long Live Gut Microbiota!
Your gut microbiota is quite like the Amazon rainforest that’s replete with diversity. It craves a diversity of tastes and flavours. So, it’s always a good idea to indulge the billions of lives in your microbiota with a balanced diet that also contains a rainbow of fruits and veggies! Health, well-being, vitality – they all start from within. So let’s begin by being more aware of the microcosm inside us.
(1) What is the Healthy Gut Microbiota Composition? A Changing Ecosystem across Age, Environment, Diet, and Diseases. Rinninella et al. Microorganisms. 2019
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