Function of the microbiota
Our “symbionts” perform many functions:
- They help us regulate body weight(in one direction or another depending on the type of intestinal bacterial flora)
- They digest foods that we are unable to use and digest, such as fibers, but not only: lactose is a sugar that is completely digested thanks to a healthy intestinal flora
- They produce vitamins that we are unable to synthesize(K, folin, B vitamins…)
- They protect the intestines from pathogenic (bad) organismsand train our immune system
Microbiota and immune system
We are hand in glove with the microbiota.
The microbiota is important for the correct maturation of the immune system which works thanks to two systems, adaptive and innate.
On the other hand, evolution has operated in such a way that host and symbiote communicate with each other effectively and efficiently in order to coexist and benefit from each other.
The primary role of the immune system is to defend the body against potentially harmful agents. It does so by recognizing what belongs to the organism itself (the “self”) from what is foreign to it (“non-self”).
The adaptive immune component has memory of all the agents it comes into contact with over time so as to allow a more rapid “reaction” to a second encounter with the same organisms. What happens to the microbes that live in our gut? They are not exactly part of our body, but they have “built” a two-way communication system with the cells of the immune system so as not to be attacked and instead be recognized as “familiar”!
The microbiota also exchanges information with the defense cells by instructing them. Ingenious don’t you think?
However, this does not mean that the intestinal flora can go around the body like nothing happened! Each microorganism has its own home and immune tolerance is valid only if everyone stays in their place!
When the bacterial flora is compromised, the immune system also goes into crisis.
Dysbiosis and health status
Numerous studies have shown that the alteration of the microbiota, a situation known as dysbiosis , may have a correlation with the onset of intestinal and non- inflammatory intestinal diseases (irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, Chron’s disease …), autoimmune diseases (celiac disease , type I diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, autoimmune thyroiditis…), respiratory tract and allergic diseases (asthma, rhinitis, even cystic fibrosis, dermatitis).
Dysbiosis also seems to be a common factor in cases of Schizophrenia, Autism, Hyperactivity Syndrome, Depression, Fibromyalgia, Multiple Sclerosis, overweight and obesity…
Obviously having episodes of dysbiosis does not result in having even serious health problems like those of the examples listed above!
The onset of a pathology is linked in the first place to a genetic component, to a familiarity with that pathology and then there is also an environmental component (place where you live, lifestyle, type of bacterial flora you have … ).
However, everyone’s experience remains that when our “belly” is out of phase, we feel weaker and out of shape!
The relationship between organism and microbiota has been known for some time, but it has only been a few years since we have realized how important and complex the communication system between the gastrointestinal system and the nervous system, the immune system and the endocrine system is, so much so that we come to consider the microbiota a real “organ”.
So many correlations, a complex network of continuous communication between bacteria and the host organism, so many questions to be answered, so much work still to be done; hypotheses and evidence to prove … a long way to try to understand the “miracle” of evolution!
For now it’s important to keep in mind that having a healthy intestinal flora allows us to maintain good health!
The importance of having a healthy microbiota!
How you do it?
- We must avoid taking antibiotics and medications when they are not needed
- We must have a food “diet” that meets the needs of the microbiota itself as much as possible!
The microbiota feeds through what we eat: we are the source of nourishment, the only one it has!
Depending on what and how we eat we will have a microbial flora composed of a prevalence of some species rather than others!
And that makes the difference! We are also different for our microbiota which becomes our real identity card and which has so much influence on our state of health, physical and even mental