It is now well known that digestive health has a particularly important place in overall health. You may know that our belly is our second brain, so it is in our best interest to take care of it by taking care of our gut microbiota. The intestinal microbiota is an ecosystem made up of all the micro-organisms living in our intestines. Maintaining the balance of your gut microbiota by ensuring the diversity and abundance of beneficial bacteria is the key to a good digestive health and, therefore, a good overall health. Here are the answers to a few questions you may wonder about digestive health.
Digestive health: what does my gut microbiota do for me?
Helps you digest
The first key role of the intestinal microbiota is to help us in digestion. Indeed, our gut bacteria degrade compounds, such as insoluble fibers1, that we are not able to digest. As a result of the degradation of these insoluble fibers, gut bacteria produce short-chain fatty acids (e.g butyric acid) that have shown beneficial effects on our health. Our microbiota also helps us absorb and synthesize certain nutrients that are essential to the proper functioning of our body. This is the case of certain vitamins (K and B group) for example.
Acts on the functioning of your intestinal cells
Microbiota also has a beneficial impact on your intestinal cells. It stimulates the motricity of the digestive tract¹. It also participates in the development of the intestinal cells and intestinal blood vessels. Microbiota is therefore essential to the proper development and functioning of the digestive tract.
Is a key player in your immunity
The last key role of your microbiota is its importance in immunity. From the first years of life, the intestinal microbiota participates in the development of our immune defenses and play a potential role in allergy management. It teaches our immature immune system to distinguish between friendly and pathogenic bacterial species. Then, throughout our lives, the microbiota supports our immune system by fighting against the colonization of your gut by dangerous bacteria.
Why does my belly hurt?
The first thing to remember is that an unhealthy microbiota can be the cause of many health issues.
An unhealthy microbiota: dysbiosis
If you suffer from digestive problems, it may be because you have a dysbiosis. Dysbiosis is the name given to the state of imbalance of a microbiota. This imbalance is due to a change in its composition: a reduction in the number of beneficial bacteria and/or their diversity in favor of pathogenic bacteria.
Did you take care of your microbiota?
Dysbiosis can occur under the influence of many factors, both genetic and environmental. Among the most known environmental factors, there are:
- The use of certain medications, especially antibiotics;
- An unbalanced diet, too rich in sugars and fats;
- Consumption of alcohol, tobacco;
- Certain infections, whether bacterial, viral, or parasitic;
Dysbiosis causes inflammation… And it hurts!
Due to the colonization of your intestine by harmful bacteria, dysbiosis can lead to the development of localized inflammation: your immune system needs support to get rid of potentially dangerous bacteria. In the long term, this inflammation can become chronic or even generalized and lead to the onset of chronic diseases. Thus, dysbiosis is a risk factor for certain inflammatory bowel diseases² (Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis) or metabolic diseases1 (obesity, type 2 diabetes).
Digestive health: how can postbiotics help me?
When should you think about taking postbiotics?
The following symptoms should alert you to the possibility of dysbiosis and therefore make you think about taking postbiotics:
- Digestive disorders such as diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, and bloating;
- An impaired immunity leading to a susceptibility to seasonal disease and a lingering fatigue;
- A chronic disease and an uncontrolled inflammation.
What they would do for you
Postbiotics are part of the biotics family, so they are made to take care of your microbiota by helping you maintain its state of balance and promote good health. They provide health benefits through several modes of action. Postbiotics help restore the balance of your microbiota by both neutralizing undesirable bacteria and helping beneficial bacteria flourish. They also reinforce your gut barrier which can be altered by harmful bacteria. And finally, they activate your immune system.
You will have understood: a healthy microbiota is essential for a good digestive health. Take care of it!
 INSERM. Microbiote intestinal, 2016
 Manichanh C, Rigottier-Gois L, Bonnaud E, Gloux K, Pelletier E, Frangeul L, Nalin R, Jarrin C, Chardon P, Marteau P, Roca J, Dore J. Reduced diversity of faecal microbiota in Crohn’s disease revealed by a metagenomic approach. Gut. 2006 Feb;55(2):205-11. doi: 10.1136/gut.2005.073817. Epub 2005 Sep 27. PMID: 16188921; PMCID: PMC1856500.
Adobe Stock / Monstar Studio