There are over 100 trillion microbes that live in or on us (about 1,000 different species) which include many bacteria and some yeast. These microbes reside in our gut, skin, mucus membranes, upper respiratory tract and lower genital-urinary tract. When these 100 trillion microbes are in the correct amount, they have an extremely beneficial relationship with us.
How Does Bacteria Enter the Gut Microbiome?
When we are born our guts are aseptic. In fact, we get our first mouthful of beneficial flora (HOPEFULLY) from our mother’s vaginal canal and skin contact. Colostrum from mother’s breast milk (not from formula) allows for the colonization (growth) of these beneficial microbes in the infant. Overgrowths of beneficial microbes cause many problems in the digestive tract known as dysbiosis or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).
Functions of the Gut Flora
The gut flora Via fermentation the Gut Flora produces Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFA’s). SCFA’s are essential and are produced by postbiotics -also known as Butyrate, Acetate, Propionate. These SCFA’s have many important functions and features such as:
- Primary energy source for gut cells
- Anti inflammatory
- Anti carcinogenic
- Regulate Immune System
Results From A Poor Gut Microbiome
Poor Gut Flora is a huge trigger to autoimmune disease and can result in other problems in the body. For example, acid reflux can be caused by gut dysbiosis (also called dysbacteriosis). This condition is related to a microbial imbalance in which there are more or less good bacteria than bad bacteria in the gut.
The Impact of Gut Flora On Immunity
In addition to producing Short Chain Fatty Acids, the Gut Flora keeps our gut barrier healthy by crowding out potentially pathogenic organisms. The Gut Flora also functions in synthesizing Vitamin B Complex, converting Vitamin K1 & Vitamin K2, removing toxins that we ingest (including medications), regulating fat burning and digestion/absorption of nutrients.
Other Ways Gut Microbiome Maintains Homeostasis
Furthermore, Gut Flora helps the body in a number of ways including:
- Remove excess histamine from the body
- Aids in converting Glutamate GABA (calming neurotransmitter)
- Regulates motility of bowels, removes cholesterol and used up hormones
- Increases concentration of pyruvic acid, citric acid, fumaric acid, and malic acid (all are used for energy production in the mitochondria)
- “Jump starts” the immune systems development in infants.
Definitions to Avoid Confusion
- Prebiotics: non-digestible fibers used by beneficial microbes to ferment.
- Probiotic: live microorganisms that can provide benefits to human health.
- Postbiotics: short chain fatty acids produced by probiotics via fermentation.
- Symbiotic: both prebiotic and probiotic together.