Happy gut, Healthy you

Our gut is the home of trillions of microorganisms that belong to hundreds of different species. Gut microbiota can, in total, account for up to 2 kg of our body weight, which is almost as much as the weight of our brain. It is not only involved in food digestion and nutrients absorption, but also plays a key role on people’s physical and mental health.

In the last few years, researchers showed how gut microbiota keeps us healthy, as it represents the first line of defence against disease and it modulates not only digestive tract functions, but also immune system responses and brain activities.

Gut Microbiota

About one third of the gut microbiota is common to most people, while two thirds are specific to each one of us, making anyone’s gut bacteria profile as unique as a fingerprint. Even though gut bacteria community composition varies among people, in the last few years, scientists were able to establish that a healthy gut microbiota is a highly populated and diverse one in which there is a right ratio between “good” bacteria such as Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillii and “bad” bacteria such as Clostridia and Bacteroides.

The development of a healthy, stable, diverse and resilient gut microbiota begins at birth and continues during all stages of life. Early life events and lifestyle and diet choices play a very important role on shaping our gut bacteria community. As an example, several human studies have suggested that high-fat and low in fibre diets such as the Western diet, decreases not only gut microbiota diversity but also overall microorganism number leading to bacteria population imbalance (called gut dysbiosis).

Gut bacteria profile imbalance is often observed in people with non-communicable diseases such as obesity, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), diabetes, depression, impaired immunity, skin diseases or non-food allergies.