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The gut and its microbiome

Darm und Darmflora

What does the intestine do?

The intestine is a twisted muscular tube whose main task is to digest food. It extends from the stomach gate to the anus and consists of the intestinal surface, which is covered with a mucous membrane and colonized with countless different bacteria, the so-called intestinal flora.

The intestinal surface limits the body internallyOur intestinal surface is huge. It measures around 400 square meters, about the size of a soccer field. Just as your skin, which has an area of about 2 square meters, limits your body externally, the intestinal surface represents the boundary internally. Its task as a barrier is to allow good nutrients into the body and bloodstream while keeping out bad components and excreting them. The intestinal surface is covered with a mucous membrane in which firmly anchored colonies of bacteria live, known as the intestinal flora.

Tasks of the trio: intestinal surface, mucous membrane, and microbiomeImagine the intestinal surface with its mucous membrane as a net that filters out unwanted components of food and prevents them from entering the intestine. In addition, together with the intestinal microbiome, also known as intestinal flora, it forms the first line of defense of your body against invading "bad" bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other pathogens that want to enter your body with the food. The intestinal surface, mucous membrane, and intestinal microbiome are thus an important part of your immune defense.

Different bacteria for different intestinal sectionsThe intestine is divided into different sections, each with specific tasks. To create optimal conditions for these tasks, the bacteria of the intestinal flora vary according to the section.

In the duodenum, the neutralization of the chyme takes place. Among the hundreds of different "good" bacteria of the intestinal microbiome, lactobacilli and streptococci (spherical bacteria) preferentially settle there.

Subsequently, in the small intestine, most nutrients such as sugar, protein, digested fat, as well as vitamins and minerals are absorbed into the blood. In this slightly acidic environment, Escherichia coli (flagellated rod-shaped bacteria) and enterococci (non-motile spore-forming cocci) settle in addition to lactobacilli.

In the final section of the intestine, the colon, water is reabsorbed into the body from the digested chyme, and mucus is formed to make the stool slippery. The colon has the highest density of microbes, which are additionally enriched with strains of bifidobacteria and bacteroides.

What is the intestinal microbiome made of?

The intestinal microbiome consists of hundreds of different strains of bacteria that have settled in the mucous membrane of the intestinal surface.

This is how the microbiome worksIn our intestines, there are about 400 to 1800 different bacterial strains. These bacteria are of great importance for

  • nutrient absorption into the body,
  • protecting the intestinal surface, and
  • being the first barrier in the immune defense system.

They form a community known as the microbiome. The breakdown products of one species can be food for others, some produce an acidic environment that others then balance out. In short, only together and in the optimal composition, our intestinal bacteria provide the protection we expect from a functioning intestinal flora. Each person has their own specific microbiome.

If these many bacterial strains are in a healthy environment and optimal living conditions are present, everything runs perfectly from the intake of nutrients to excretion. A highly complex interplay of biochemical processes takes place. The mitochondria, the tiny powerhouses of our cells, provide energy, and the immune defense is built up and organized.

An intact intestinal microbiome and a functioning protective barrier of intestinal surface with intestinal mucosa form the basis for a balanced "digestion" and thus ensure our well-being and health.

Disturbed microbiome leads to problemsHowever, not only short-term well-being depends on an intact microbiome. Allergies, autoimmune reactions, chronic impairments often have their origins in a long-term disturbed microbiome. Unbalanced diet, preservatives in food, environmental influences, but also life-saving antibiotics can damage the intestinal flora. If individual important bacterial strains are reduced by poorer living conditions or antibiotics, other microorganisms such as clostridia or candida fungi multiply. Their toxic breakdown products, called toxins, additionally disrupt the delicate balance of the microbiome, for example, by shifting the acidity value.

A vicious circle that becomes less regulated with increasing duration and gradually leads to complaints such as digestive problems and increased susceptibility to infections, allergies, and chronic diseases.

What can you do about it?
Well-balanced dietary supplements with the appropriate bacterial strains like Sagitta Pur Family Probiotic help you restore balance to your microbiome and prevent worse. Your goal should always be a healthy diet because nothing can replace it!

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