News article

More than just bacteria: Importance of microbial diversity in gut health, disease

Posted:  Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Having healthy gut bacteria is essential for digestion, it helps the stomach and small intestine digest food that they are unable to digest also helps in production of vitamins B and K. It also plays and significant role in the immune system, creating a barrier effect.

Gut microbiota is defined as large number of diverse microbial communities that are located in the human gut. One third of our gut microbiota to common to all people but two third are specific to every individual. It could be said that microbiota in the intestine is your own unique identity card.

Importance of Microbial Diversity

Microbial diversity is important in all ecosystems to encourage stability and performance. Microbiota diversity is likely to become the new bio-marker or indicator of health. Heathy gut bacteria is essential to promote well-being and healthy digestion.

Gut microbiota contains a vast number of microorganism from all three domains of life including bacteria, fungi and viruses. Though not much knowledge is available about it, but the application of DNA sequencing technology has facilitated the better understanding of having good gut health.

“Using novel metagenomic approaches, scientists are at last beginning to characterize the taxonomic abundance and community relationships not only of bacteria, but also the other microbes that inhabit the gut environment,” says Professor Gary Wu, University of Pennsylvania, and Philadelphia. “This exciting work is bringing us one step closer to understanding the importance of microbial diversity in intestinal health and disease and could ultimately lead to new ways of diagnosing and treating gastrointestinal (GI) disease.”

The most complex microbial ecosystem is considered to be the gastrointestinal tract. The tract gives an understanding how the multiple groups interact and present both opportunities and challenges. "We have known for some time that the bacteria in the gut play an important role in both health and disease," says Prof. Wu. "It is also now becoming clear that the non-bacterial microbiota interacts in a complex way with the bacterial microbiota to contribute to these processes."

Learning the importance of microbial diversity in intestinal health and disease, could help treat and diagnose GI tract problems such metabolic syndrome, Irritable bowel syndrome and other gastrointestinal issues. Your gut health influences your cancer susceptibility by controlling your immune system and inflammation and also has an effect of your organs mainly - skin, lungs, breasts and lungs.

The study highlights the importance of microbial diversity. Including, probiotics and prebiotics in your diet, helps in maintain gut health. What you eat is very important to increase and improve healthy gut. Bacteria. They are present in fermented food such as yogurts, probiotics help maintain gut microbial diversity.