What is the importance of intestinal bacterial flora?
The human body contains a lot of symbiotic bacteria. Bacteria of the intestinal biota are primarily located in the large intestine and comprise up to 80% of the mass of feces. All of us have several kilograms of bacteria living in our intestines. The number of bacterial cells in the human body is ten times that of human cells. It has been evident for a long time that human bacterial flora, also known as the microbiome, has a significant impact on our health.
The formation of bacterial flora in our bodies begins at birth. The most beneficial combination of the microbiota is seen in full-term babies who are born through natural childbirth and given the mother’s milk. When a newborn is given the mother’s first milk (colostrum), it immediately stimulates the development of normal microflora and reduces the multiplication of pathogenic bacteria.
The composition of intestinal bacterial microbiota is influenced by many factors such as food, hormones, environment, type of birth (natural or cesarean), usage of antibiotics or other medications, age, physical activity, stress, and illness.
The bacterial intestinal microflora is responsible for many functions in our body:
Supporting the body’s immunity
It is estimated that about 80% of all immune cells in the human body are in the gut. The presence of the right bacteria in the intestines encourages the multiplication of immune system cells, thereby helping to reduce the incidence of diseases and shorten their duration.
New research confirms the relationship between intestinal bacterial flora and the occurrence of allergies. The more beneficial bacteria in the intestine, the less permeable is the intestinal mucosa to antigens and the more resistant is our body to allergies of all kinds.
It destroys pathogens
Our intestines are colonized by bacteria from the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium families. Their beneficial effects protect the digestive tract from numerous harmful microorganisms that can enter it along with food. Toxic substances and food residues that are not fully digested by the body are an excellent environment for fungi and parasites. As a result, the body becomes weak and extremely susceptible to long and troublesome infections. Healthy intestinal flora is our body’s best weapon in the fight against pathogens.
The huge (up to 500 square meters) area of the digestive system is the place where 80% of the whole lymphocyte tissue is found. Lymphocytes actively defend the body from invasion by harmful foreign substances. The digestive system is not involved in metabolism but also protects the body from pathogenic microorganisms.
The intestine is responsible for the absorption of nutrients and water. The role of intestinal microflora is based on the fermentation of food components, especially dietary fiber. Fiber is that part of the digestive content not digested by the microflora of the small intestine. Fermentation processes in the large intestine cause the formation of fatty acids, such as lactic acid. The butyric acid produced at this time provides energy to the cells of the large intestine epithelium and is particularly important. In addition, it influences the metabolism of lipids and glucose in the liver positively. Butyric acid also improves the absorption of minerals, supports the action of drugs, and neutralizes toxins.
Regulation of intestinal peristalsis
Appropriate composition and amount of microbiome has a positive effect on bowel movements and decreases intestinal gas formation.
What is the danger of weak intestinal microflora?
Unfortunately, during everyday human functioning, good intestinal bacteria are exposed to many harmful factors that significantly impair their performance. A hectic, unhealthy lifestyle can quickly lead to dysbiosis.
So what are the consequences of continuous loss of probiotic bacteria?
– Abdominal pain and bloating
– diarrhea or constipation
– skin problems (most often on the face)
– disorders of the immune system (celiac disease and other food intolerances, rheumatoid arthritis)
– continuous intimate infections
– chronic diseases of the liver, kidneys, skin, and respiratory system
– reduced immunity
– digestive system problems (heartburn, nausea, vomiting, and lack of appetite)
A continued state of dysbiosis can cause diabetes, insulin resistance, obesity, and cancer. Scientists believe that as many as 15% of cancer cases are the result of damaged microflora.
How to take care of intestinal bacterial flora?
It is essential to take care of your body’s microflora for proper functioning. So what can you do not to weaken your intestines?
First of all, change your eating habits. Try to eat more vegetables and other foods containing fiber. Fiber is an excellent food for the bacteria in our intestines and improves their functioning.
Do not forget about natural sources of probiotics
Pickled vegetables, home-made red borscht as well as fermented dairy products, kefir, or real unsweetened natural yogurt, algae, and many other foods are natural sources of probiotics. Check here: Probiotics can help you lose weight and feel better. Here’s how!
Reducing junk food is another big part of improving your eating habits.
First of all, limit processed food. Artificial food additives, flavor enhancers, preservatives, saturated fats, and hidden sugar do not nourish good bacteria, and in fact, affect them adversely.
Try to add foods in their natural form to your diet. Instead of buying ready-to-eat flavored yogurts, buy natural yogurt and fruits, such as raspberries. All you need to do is add raspberries to the yogurt. You can also puree the fruit and add it to yogurt.
Supplement good probiotics
In the pharmacy, you will find many products or probiotic preparations, which contain tested and selected bacterial strains that favorably influence the health of the intestinal microflora. Remember to change the brand of your probiotics often so that there is no excessive colonization of one particular strain.
Also, try to pay attention to synbiotics. It is a probiotic as well as a medium for good bacteria. These products are microencapsulated. In this form, it will not be digested in the stomach and will remain in the intestine.
Do not overuse antibiotics
Antibiotics, in addition to destroying pathogenic bacteria, destroy good bacteria in our intestines. If you consume antibiotics for five days, it can take up to six months to reconstruct the bacterial flora through probiotic therapy plus the right diet and lifestyle. Many find this challenging. Antibiotics should only be used when it is necessary for the cure and only under the supervision of a physician.
If we decide on antibiotic therapy every time we feel ill or have a cold, we do not improve our health but ruin it. (Read Natural antibiotics)