1. Microflora is unique and changeable
Bacteria colonize the body at birth - a person is absolutely sterile in the womb. After birth, he begins to breathe air and touch objects. Relatives, friends and other people who communicate with the child pass on to him some of their unique bacteria, which take root or not. At the same time, some are pathogenic, because of them there are malfunctions in the body, others are necessary and useful. Together, they create a microbiome within a person. By the age of three, the child gets acquainted with most of the bacteria around him, the immune system is intensively developing. The microflora of each person is as unique as a fingerprint.
Microbiome Educational Program from the American Museum of Natural History
2. The more germs, the better
Bacteria live everywhere, even in deep waters and arctic ice. It is impossible to calculate their exact number in the human body, but on average, scientists estimate this number at several trillion living representatives of various species. This is more than the stars in the Milky Way. Most of all beneficial bacteria are found in people who eat as diverse as possible and at the same time natural products. It is more difficult for modern bacteria to get to humans through food when it is over-processed and contains various chemicals. Disinfection of premises also has a detrimental effect on microbes.
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3. Bacteria can be good or bad
Part of the bacteria is necessary for humans to maintain health and normal functioning of the body. Sometimes the same microbes can do both harm and good. For example, Helicobacter pylori is a bacterium that causes stomach ulcers. It is present in the body of half of the world's inhabitants, but most carriers do not have symptoms of the disease. Infections caused by this microbe are treated with antibiotics. "There is a lot of evidence that Helicobacter has both biological costs and biological benefits," says microbiologist Martin Blazer of New York University School of Medicine. The presence of this microbe in the body is bad for the stomach and can cause reflux symptoms, but good for the throat.
4. Probiotics Treat Depression
Scientists have studied the link between gut bacteria and chemicals in the brain for years. One study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, was conducted on mice. Rodents received the lactobacillus Lactobacillus rhamnosus and showed fewer symptoms of anxiety and nervous disorders leading to depressive conditions. This is believed to be due to gamma-aminobutyric acid, which helps regulate emotional behavior. The beneficial bacteria are found in many fermented milk products, including Greek yogurt. Therefore, it is worth adding it to your diet if you want to improve your mood and get rid of anxiety.
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5. It is not easy to restore microflora
When people learned that bacteria help digestion and support immunity, many began looking for ways to populate the body with beneficial microflora. This is especially true after antibiotic treatment, when the necessary bacteria die along with the pathogenic bacteria. According to Martin Blazer, probiotics sell well, but they have little benefit. The fact is that it is impossible to restore the microbiome from several thousand species with the help of a couple of products. Pharmaceutical preparations work best. After a course of antibiotic treatment, it is better to consult a doctor and find the right means to restore the basic microflora, and not rely on fermented milk products.
6. Microflora is associated with allergies
Researchers from Copenhagen examined the medical records and analyzes of 411 children. Doctors say those with fewer different types of bacteria in their gut were more prone to allergic reactions. No specific protective strain was found that would affect the functioning of the immune system. But scientists have noted that certain bacteria, such as staphylococci, can increase the risk of allergies. This is due to the fact that they are detrimental to other members of the microbiome. The results of the study also showed that the diversity of bacteria in the gut is not associated with atopic dermatitis or asthma.
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7. Bacteria affect behavior
Microorganisms can affect not only the well-being and mood of a person, but also his preferences. An interesting discovery was made by scientists at Oxford University. They studied the effects of the bacteria Toxoplasma gondii on people, including how they dress. This microbe makes rats unafraid of cats, thus making them easy prey. Men infected with the bacterium become dismissive of their appearance; in women, this indicator is not so clearly expressed. In this case, the microbe affects social behavior: men become prone to breaking the rules, and women become excessively sociable. About a third of people worldwide are asymptomatic carriers of Toxoplasma gondii and are unaware of it. Toxoplasmosis, a disease caused by this bacterium, resolves easily in most cases. Exceptions are pregnant women (with infection, there is a risk to the child), people and animals with reduced immunity.>