'Our gut does more than help us digest food; the bacteria that call our intestines home have been implicated in everything from our mental health and sleep, to weight gain and cravings for certain foods. This series examines how far the science has come and whether there’s anything we can do to improve the health of our gut.
The healthy human body is swarming with microorganisms. They inhabit every nook and cranny on the surfaces of our body. But by far the largest collection of microorganisms reside in our gastrointestinal tract – our gut.
This genetic complement of the microbiota means it can do things other parts of the body cannot. Our microbiota provides digestive enzymes to allow us to use food that otherwise we could not digest. It provides essential vitamins we cannot make ourselves. And it interacts with our hormonal and neural systems to help shape our physiology.
Perhaps most important of all, it helps to develop our immune system to fight off bugs. The body must be able to distinguish between the beneficial members of the healthy microbiota and invading pathogenic microorganisms that can cause disease. The immune system has to learn to live with and nurture the microbiota while fighting off pathogens.' (My emphasis)
Robert Moore, Research Professor of Biotechnology, Head of Host-Microbe Interactions Laboratory, RMIT University, introduces this very interesting series of articles here: theconversation.com/healthy...
With CLL, I suspect learning how to better look after our microbiome may have considerable potential to improve our quality of life, With our greater dependence on antibiotics, I expect we have a much lower microbiome biodiversity, making us more susceptible to a range of unpleasant conditions - including hard to cure C. difficile infections: healthunlocked.com/search/d...
For further reading from 'The Conversation' writers on this developing field, check out the 'You might also like' suggestions at the bottom of the article.
Photo: A lone eucalyptus tree in a ploughed paddock. We've greatly reduced diversity in the environment by clearing land to grow monoculture crops, with this reduction in diversity having repercussions on the natural environment that are increasingly being recognised.