Go with your gut feeling...
Your microbiota weighs about the same as your brain (a little over 1kg) and is now considered to be a functioning ecosystem that is part of you. There are trillions of microbes inhabiting your gut, skin, mouth and every other surface of your body. We have up until relatively recently been ignorant of the presence of these resident microbes and are now only realising their influence on our overall health and wellbeing. They potentially have huge influence well beyond the gut wall. What is most staggering is the sheer variety of strains, akin to the real estate adage location, location, location - when it comes to gut health it’s DIVERSITY, DIVERSITY, DIVERSITY.
Whether you know about it - or even believe it - you have an intimate relationship with your gut microbiota. If you’re feeling ambivalent at this time about the idea of your gut microbes, you could describe this as a mutually beneficial 2-way street with its fair share of tumultuous challenges which is “everyday modern life”. In this relationship, you provide them with a warm, damp, cosy environment (the gut lumen) for those bacteria wanting a seat in business class, or perhaps just the relatively dry locations of the skin for an economy class spot.
They provide you with:
- The ability to digest food properly
- Short chain fatty acids
- Protection against pathogenic bacteria
- Immune system training
- A connection between your gut and brain that may influence your mood and behavior
Your specific microbiota is unique to you and the future will be: medications and treatments that take into account (or are tailored to) your microbiota.