What Is Gut Dysbiosis?
Maintaining a balanced gut microbiota is key to good physical, mental, and emotional health.
The human body cannot be considered only as the sum of its parts, as they are all interconnected and interact with each other. For example, doing any kind of physical exercise helps us to maintain our weight and strengthen our muscles, but also helps us to manage stress and get restful sleep, which in turn stimulates the immune system and improves cognitive abilities. Balance between the different organs and systems is therefore essential for full health and well-being.
Understanding the body as a complex map in which most of its areas are interrelated allows us to better understand what the gut microbiota is and how it influences our overall health. As Ana Mayor, an internist and expert in Digestive Health at SHA Wellness Clinic tells us, ‘The human gastrointestinal tract is inhabited by the largest microbial community in the whole organism, made up of trillions of bacteria, fungi, yeasts, viruses, phages… They all make up our microbiota, live together in harmony and interact continuously with our body in many ways’.
Intestinal dysbiosis is the imbalance of the normal microbiota due to quantitative or qualitative changes in its composition, functioning, metabolic activity, or distribution. As Dr Mayor explains, ‘These alterations are linked to many diseases, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, hepatic steatosis, inflammatory bowel diseases, and several types of cancer. The reason is that these variations affect pathways involved in immunity, energy efficiency, glucose and lipid metabolism.
When the microbiota is out of balance, many of the physiological functions it performs can be compromised. Ana lists the most important ones: ‘It improves immunity, participates in the digestion of food and the absorption of nutrients, and protects the body against colonisation by pathogenic microorganisms’. Hence, maintaining the balance and diversity of the gut microbiota not only influences digestive processes, but also has a direct effect on the lungs, brain, and skin. The expert concludes that ‘numerous studies have shown a bidirectional interaction between the gut microbiota and many organs of the body, beyond the gut, and its alteration is a key factor in the pathogenesis of many local and general disorders of the body’.
For more information on how to take care of your gut microbiota, Click here