The gut is made up of a system called the digestive tract. The digestive tract is also known as the gastrointestinal (pertaining to the stomach and intestines) tract. It is the passageway of the digestive system that leads from the mouth to the anus. After the digestion of food and absorption of nutrients in the food, the waste is expelled at the anus as faeces.
The stomach, which is part of our Digestive System, is a major component of the gut. The stomach processes the food and transfers it to the small intestine and then onto the large intestine. The gut plays a major role not only in our gastrointestinal (relating to the stomach and the intestines) health, but also in the health and well-being of the entire body.
Different Types of Gut Bacteria:
The gut microbiota is also known as the microflora of the gut. It is a vast and complex collection of microorganisms that has a profound impact on human health. The human microbiome is the overall composition of all microbiota in the body. The microbiome refers to the entire habitat of the body, including its microorganisms, genomes, and the surrounding environmental conditions.
Gut microbiome refers to the microorganisms living in our gut. It is made up of trillions of bacteria, fungi and other microbes. Each and every individual has a different mix of microbiota in the body and is unique just as a person's fingerprint. It is determined partly by our mother’s microbiota, the environment that we are exposed to at birth and partly from our diet and lifestyle.
Gut bacteria can be categorised as good bacteria that is healthy and beneficial for the body and bad bacteria that is not beneficial for the body. Bad bacteria can lead to inflammation within the body. Both types of bacteria coexist within. The health of our gut depends on the right balance between the good and the bad bacteria that live in there.
The good gut bacteria helps:
Absorbing the nutrients present in food
Good digestion of foods we eat
Fight the bad gut bacteria
Improve our immune system
Improve our mood
Control the nervous system thereby controlling the brain health
Prevent the disease causing bacteria from sticking to the walls of the intestine
Lower cholesterol levels
Reduce risk of heart disease
The unhealthy/bad gut bacteria can cause:
Inflammations within the body
Bloating, gas, diarrhoea, stomach pain or nausea
Difficulty in absorption of nutrients from food
Allergies and health issues
Obesity and hormone disorders
Mood swings, anxiety and depression
Chronic illnesses like diabetes, fatty liver, cardiovascular issues, cancer, etc
Neurological disorders like dementia and schizophrenia
In a gut that is in good working condition and works as it should, both the good and the bad bacteria keep each other in check. But, when there is an imbalance between the two and if the inflammatory bacteria takes over, they can produce by-products that pass through the lining of the gut and into the bloodstream, spreading the inflammation to other parts of the body.
Research indicates that having a large variety of good bacteria in the gut may help reduce the risk of conditions like diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, and psoriatic arthritis. In addition to family genes, environment, use of medication as well as diet plays a large role in determining what kinds of microbiota live in our gut.