The Gut Microbiota- Friend or Foe?

The Gut Microbiota- Friend or Foe?

The human gut is host to millions of the bacteria. The time we are born to the time we die, they remain there. Indirectly they help to shape our future health, but how?

There are good bacteria and the bad bacteria. There is not an obvious way to differentiate between two for the body. The researchers are keenly interested artificial gut modules to know how different bacterial strains affect the body function of digestion.  The exact area to locate them is at the end of the small intestine which goes throughout the large intestine. How these colonies emerge from a single cell to a cluster needs various steps to climb. It may include our diet, genetics, surroundings and what not.

What is micro-biome?

The term “microbiome” refers to the overall colonies of bacteria in a particular place, living in a commensalism relation. They can be an opportunistic pathogen sometimes. There are over 3 million microbial genes in human gut microbiota. These genes are 150 times more in number than the human genome. It depicts the size of the bacteria involved. As per latest research, these beneficial bacteria are more than 1000 different strains, out of which only 150- 170 are predominant.

The recent researches focus on how to identify the good gut bacteria and maintain them for healthy body functions. The presence of a microbiome ensures the active processing of the food and upgrades the immunity.

Is it identical for all?

The microbiome is unique for everyone. There are similarities, but the entirely same microbiome is out of the question.  The uniqueness of a person’s gut can be tracked by DNA fingerprinting.

How to identify good and bad gut bacteria?

A recent research study performed with the collaboration between Germany and Italy was published in Nature Communications. In this research article, the author Dr. Thomas Brocker (Professor/ Director Institute for Immunology at Ludwig Maximilian University (LMU) of Munich describe that one way through which the body differentiates between beneficial and harmful bacteria is through immune surveillance cells.

There are trillion cells in the gut. The gut microbiota supports nutrition, metabolism, and immunity. A disruption to this microflora which can be due to antibiotics, radiations, malnutrition, etc. In the case of an imbalance in bacterial colonies, the chances of obesity are more likely to hit. It can also induce internal inflammation, bowel diseases, and gastrointestinal disorders. It can also initiate the risk of type two diabetes.

What are the benefits?

  1. Digestion

The intestinal bacteria help to digest food by converting them into other components. Lactobacillus acidophilus is one specific gut bacteria which produces lactic acid and hydrogen peroxide in the gut. It helps to break down the food into small pieces quickly. In this way, complex food molecules i.e. dairy proteins are broken down into small molecules which are easier for the body to digest.

  1. Protection against pathogens

Some regular bacterial strains help to protect the body against any possible infection. Lactobacilli, for example, are the most friendly bacteria of the human intestine. The inhibit the growth of Candida albicans which is a particular type of yeast, causing Candidiasis infection. By far it is the most common yeast infection which affects the majority of the USA population. These good bacteria create a barrier like the situation to which yeast cannot pass. One of such bacteria is Bifidobacteria which generates certain substances that restrain the growth of some pathogenic microbes.

  1. Nutrient synthesis

Eventually, the leading benefit if to aid in nutrient synthesis. Vitamins, nutrients, mineral and antioxidants are also extracted by the help of these bacteria. For example, regular gut bacteria assist in creating vitamin K which is essentially required for the body

Risk and Safety

There are certain warning signs which your body gives you to show that your gut bacteria are in danger. These include;

  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Diarrhea
  • Increased food allergies
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Mood swings
  • Diabetes
  • Skin problems i.e. eczema
  • Diabetes
  • Frequent seasonal infections
  • Loss o of appetite or overeating
  • Poor memory


All these factors are common which is why you may never know what is wrong with your body. It is necessary to take precautionary measure such as;

  • Eat organic and fresh foods
  • Avoid processed foods.
  • Eliminate the risk of food allergies.
  • Treat the infections on time.
  • Add probiotics and probiotics to your diet.
  • Take healthy fats.
  • Sleep well.
  • Do a moderate workout each day.
  • Watch your weight.
  • Be positive and avoid taking the stress.




The author is a Medical Microbiologist and healthcare writer. She is a post-graduate of Medical Microbiology and Immunology. She covers all content on health and wellness including weight loss, nutrition, and general health. Twitter @Areeba94789300

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