The gut microbiota or, as it is otherwise called, microflora, is a combination of microorganisms that are an integral part of the human body. They are actively involved in life, and this is a jointly beneficial union.
What are the functions of the gut microbiota?
- Protective. As soon as a person is born, certain microorganisms begin to actively colonize his body. They create colonies on the surface of the mucosa and occupy almost the entire surface. When pathogenic bacteria enter the body, in order to develop the disease, they need to take a place and actively multiply, that is, displace the normal microflora. This is where the protective function turns on, the microbiota produces some protective substances that adversely affect the vital activity of pathogenic bacteria and viruses.
- Immune. The microbiota is essential for immunity. It is able to provide neutralization of toxins, harmful microbes and other negative factors. Damage can adversely affect a person’s overall health, for example, a deterioration in immunity or the development of allergic diseases in children.
- Antitoxic. The microbiota is able to remove various toxins and carcinogens that enter the human intestine. It can also protect against tumors.
- Digestive. Food that enters the digestive organs is digested and absorbed by the action of the microbiota. It also participates in the process of splitting proteins, fats and carbohydrates. And the excretion of waste products also occurs with the help of some bacteria.
Thus, the balance of the right bacteria in your body is important for the overall health of the body, so you need to try to maintain the correct intestinal microbiota.
The composition of the intestinal microflora
For the proper functioning of the intestine, the percentage distribution of all groups of microorganisms is important. They can be divided into several groups.
- Normal microorganisms. These are bifido – and lactobacilli, as well as bacteroids. They cannot cause human diseases and perform various important functions, such as immune, digestive, protective. Moreover, representatives of this group make up the majority of all microorganisms of the microbiota. And the higher their number, the better for a person.
- Conditionally pathogenic microorganisms. The content of a small amount of these representatives in our body is the norm, while they perform a protective function, that is, they prevent the colonization of pathogenic bacteria and viruses. But in turn, they can also harm a person if their number under some conditions greatly increases and exceeds the number of normal microorganisms. In this case, serious diseases, such as intestinal infections, can develop.
- Pathogenic microorganisms. They cause various diseases, so they should not be in the human body. But there are exceptions, for example, the causative agent of tetanus. In the intestines, it is harmless to humans. It is dangerous only when it enters an open wound in an airless way.
Factors affecting the state of the microbiota
Both external and internal factors can influence the content of microflora. Here are the main ones:
- chronic diseases of the digestive organs, for example, an ulcer;
- some endocrine diseases;
- problems with immunity;
- frequent infectious diseases;
- certain climatic conditions, such as very hot or cold climates, with ionizing radiation.
Moreover, the state is affected by the long-term impact of one of these factors. For example, one-time overeating will not cause serious harm.
Problems with microflora, how to recognize
Symptoms of microbiosis disorders can be pronounced, or not at all. Here are the most obvious ones that indicate a problem with microflora:
- frequent problems with stool (diarrhea, constipation);
- moderate abdominal pain;
- poor appetite;
- periodic occurrence of nausea and vomiting;
- constant apathy.
But to confirm the diagnosis, laboratory analysis and an appeal to a specialist are necessary.
Prevention of violations of microflora
The most important influence on the normal microbiota is nutrition. Nutrition should be varied and balanced, with a high intake of fiber. The following foods should be avoided: fast food, convenience foods, a large amount of fatty foods, excessive consumption of flour products.
To normalize the work of the intestines, there are special groups of drugs, such as probiotics, prebiotics and symbiotics . But only a doctor should prescribe them.