Everything you ever wanted to know about microbiota
You hardly spend a day without hearing about microbiota, but you still wonder what it is exactly and what it does for you?
Here you will find all the information you need to understand all this and learn how to take care of your microbiota.
What is microbiota?
Your intestinal microbiota in figures:
These variations can be explained by the fact that the microbiota of an individual evolves over time according to its lifestyle. Before birth, babies’ microbiota is not yet constituted3. The development phase of the intestinal microbiota takes place during the first 3 years of life.
Its diversification depends on several factors such as the type of delivery, breastfeeding, food diversification, etc. After this first phase, the composition of the microbiota stabilizes and remains relatively stable for the rest of its life.
The composition of the intestinal microbiota in adulthood is therefore strongly dependent on the diet and environment that the individual experienced during its early childhood. Certain events can nevertheless modify the composition of the adult microbiota, such as infections, the taking of medication such as antibiotics or a change in diet4.
With age, the microbiota tends to become slightly poorer and less diverse.
What does the gut microbiota do?
One of the main functions of the intestinal microbiota is its participation in digestion. On our own, we are not able to digest the insoluble fibers present in our food because we do not have the enzymes necessary to break them down. This is where the bacteria of our intestinal microbiota come to our aid.They feed on these fibers and digest them by producing compounds called « short-chain fatty acids », nutrients that our cells use in turn as a source of energy and which would have beneficial effects on our health. The microbiota also participates in the proper absorption of certain nutrients and in the synthesis of some metabolites that are essential to the body.
Why can our microbiota be unbalanced?
Several factors can be at the origin of this state of imbalance:
Dysbiosis can manifest itself through:
No doubt about it, our microbiota influences our health at all levels!
How to balance your microbiota?
Here are some key tips for taking care of the balance of your gut microbiota:
1. Institut Pasteur, dossier : microbiote, vers une révolution thérapeutique, 2020
2. INSERM, Microbiote intestinal, 2016
3. Selma-Royo, Marta et al. “Shaping Microbiota During the First 1000 Days of Life.” Advances in experimental medicine and biology vol. 1125 (2019): 3-24. doi:10.1007/5584_2018_312
4. Mills, Susan et al. “Precision Nutrition and the Microbiome, Part I: Current State of the Science.” Nutrients vol. 11,4 923. 24 Apr. 2019, doi:10.3390/nu11040923
5. Oxford Languages. Symbiosis, 2020.
6. Pascal V, Pozuelo M, Borruel N, et al. A microbial signature for Crohn’s disease. Gut. 2017;66:813-22.
7. Liang S, Wu X, Hu X, Wang T, Jin F. Recognizing Depression from the Microbiota⁻Gut⁻Brain Axis. Int J Mol Sci. 2018 May 29;19(6):1592. doi: 10.3390/ijms19061592.
PMID: 29843470; PMCID: PMC6032096.