Did you know that microbes are all around us, even in our bodies and on our skin, also that having all these bacteria, viruses and fungi everywhere isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The batteries, fungi and viruses in the human body are collectively known as human microbiata.
Although some bacteria can cause diseases, a significant of the portion of the human microbiata plays an important role in keeping us healthy and safe from illnesses. Different types of bacteria are essential for your immune system, weight, heart, and other aspects of health.
One of the most studied groups of bacteria in the human body is the human gastrointestinal microbiota, which is also known as the “Intestinal Flora” or “Gut Microbiata”. The intestinal flora is a combination of microorganisms that lives in a "pocket" of the large intestine called the cecum and plays an important role in different functions of the human body including digestion and controlling weight. Research suggests that there are almost a 1000 species of bacteria in the intestinal flora and can weigh 2-5 pounds.
Where Does The Gut Flora Come From?
Earlier studies and research suggested that babies are sterile when they are in their mother’s womb and their first human microbiata handover occurs when they pass through the birth canal. Doctors believe that the mother’s microbiome changes during pregnancy into a mix that is optimized for the baby’s needs. This first dose of intestinal flora plays a vital role in the digestion of breast milk and sets the stage for the changes that happen later as the baby grows. Babies continue to receive microbes from breast milk and from the environment. The microbiome goes through changes throughout our lives, which are caused by factors like the environment, long-term diet, drugs and medications, and stress.
So What Is The Importance Of Intestinal Flora For Our Health?
Intestinal Flora are essential for our health and our survival because it affects our health in a number of different ways that include:
Breaking Down Breast Milk: Bifidobacteria is one of the few gut bacteria that is present within the digestive tracts of babies and its main purpose is to break down the breast milk and digest the healthy sugars in breast milk that are essential for growth.
Producing Short-Chain Fatty Acids: As we have grown and the combination of microbiome changes, some of the bacteria in our intestinal flora is responsible for digesting fiber and producing short-chain fatty acids, which are essential for digestion and the heath of the gut. Studies suggest that the fiber digested by the microbiome play a role in weight gain, heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
Supporting The Immune System: The intestinal microbiome plays a vital role in the immune system by interacting with the immune cells to ward off infection.