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Functions of gut microbiota

By now, you have probably heard the term gut microbiota. But what does it exactly mean for your body? What do these 'gut bugs' do?

Gut microbiota, or gut microbiome in another term, is the term for microorganisms, bacteria and archaea in your digestive system. More and more research is showing the importance of the health of your microbiota. Those gut bugs have some incredible functions to keep your body functioning:

Nutrient harvest/energy metabolism

This means that your bacteria help to extract and absorb nutrients from food, as well as the energy your food provides.

Breakdown of fibers/fermentation: SCFA production

Gut bacteria break down/ferment the fibers from the food you eat. The end product of those fibers get turned into Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFA), which in turn prevent bad bacteria from overgrowing in your gut, increases absorption of minerals such as calcium and may reduce your appetite.

Regulation of gut permeability

Meaning your bacteria are the gatekeepers of your gut lining. They decide what goes through into your bloodstream, and what you poop out.

Regulation of metabolic endotoxemia/inflammation

Metabolic endotoxemia is low grade inflammation caused by excess Lipopolysaccharides (LPS)

This inflammation can be present, even though there might not be an infection, causing your immune system to go in 'overdrive'.

While beneficial gut bacteria can produce anti-inflammatory compounds, may help with pain relief, and create byproducts such as antioxidants and vitamins to protect and nurture the body, harmful bacteria could mess up the genes that are in charge of energy metabolism, produce toxins that mutate you DNA, and affect the nervous and immune system.

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