What Are Gut Microbiota?

How probiotics and prebiotics help maintains a healthy gut.

The human microbiota consists of 10-100 trillion microorganisms (or microbes), mostly bacteria. Human beings actually have more microorganism cells in their body than human cells. Most of the microbiota resides in the gut, specifically the large intestine. The genes of the gut microbiota (more commonly known as the gut flora) make up the microbiome. Dysbiosis describes an unhealthy gut flora. Commercial PCR tests for gut flora are now widely available.

It is possible to influence gut flora using probiotics and prebiotics. Probiotics contain healthy bacteria and yeasts. Probiotic foods include yoghurt and kefir and they are also in many commercially available probiotic supplements. Prebiotics that contains fibres feeding the good gut flora is found in plant-based foods and prebiotic supplements such as inulin. Eating a diet with diverse plant-based foods such as vegetables, fruit and nuts (ideally 30 servings a week) will improve gut flora.

Information provided by:

Dr Tim Trodd

Specialist in Family Medicine, OT&P Healthcare

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