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About Gut Microbiota


Scientists are finding that the gut microbiota may be linked to heart health, some cancers, and even the colour of urine.


GS II: Health

About Gut Microbiota:

  • Definition: Refers to trillions of microbes like bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites residing in the human gut.
  • Historical Term: Previously known as the microflora of the gut.
  • Microbiome: The environment in which these microbes live.
Establishment of Human Gut Microbiota:
  • Inheritance: Infants acquire initial gut microbes during vaginal delivery or breastfeeding.
  • Subsequent Introduction: Diet and environmental exposures introduce new microbes.
Functions of Gut Microbiota:
  • Harvesting energy from digested food.
  • Protection against pathogens.
  • Regulation of immune function.
  • Strengthening biochemical barriers of the gut and intestine.
Impact of Microbiota Composition:
  • Changes can affect bodily functions.
  • Plays a role in various diseases.
Diseases Associated:
  • Infections: Harmful bacteria can cause food poisoning and gastrointestinal diseases leading to diarrhea and vomiting.
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD): Research links bacterial populations to conditions like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
  • Metabolic Conditions: Low microbial diversity associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome.
  • Antibiotic Impact: Disturbance by antibiotics can lead to diseases, including antibiotic-resistant infections.

-Source: The Hindu

February 2024