Did you know that humans are densely populated by bacteria? From the skin to the digestive tract to the respiratory tract, and even to the urogenital tract. They live everywhere in their own complex microbial communities. Even in the vaginal area and in the mammary glands of mothers there are important protective bacteria that have a significant impact on the baby from the very start.
What is the microbiome?
The term “microbiome“ encompasses a microbial ecosystem or community that inhabits a defined space with specific characteristics. Basically, the microbiome is understood as the totality of all microorganisms, i.e. bacteria, archaea, viruses, fungi and protozoa, that colonise a macroorganism (such as humans, animals, plants).
These microbiomes can influence the immune system, metabolism and also the hormone system of the host. The human microbiome is unique to each individual and is composed of thousands of different bacterial species.
The development of the microbiome
The intestinal microbiome, i.e. the totality of all microorganisms in our digestive tract, forms the basis for our well-being. The intestinal microbiome, also called intestinal flora, already begins to form at birth, when the baby first receives the amniotic fluid and the bacteria present in it from the mother in the mouth.
It makes a considerable difference in the development of the intestinal microbiome whether birth happens vaginally or whether the child is delivered by caesarean section. This is because, during a vaginal birth, the child first comes into contact with the vaginal microbiome and in a caesarean section with the skin microbiome and bacteria from the environment. Over the course of our lives, the intestinal microbiome is constantly changing in its composition and diversity due to our diets and the environment.
The human microbiome is unique to each person and is made up of thousands of different species of bacteria.
Why is our intestinal flora so important?
Ideally, there is a high diversity in the intestinal microbiome, which means that many different bacterial cultures are present. “Good” gut bacteria help with digestion, for example by promoting intestinal peristalsis through the production of short-chain fatty acids. The gut microbiome also plays an essential role in the detoxification of environmental chemicals and medicines.
In addition, intestinal bacteria can produce vital vitamins (e.g. B1, B2, B6, B12 and K) and anti-inflammatory substances and are important for a functioning immune system. Around 80 % of all immune cells are located in the intestine, making it the largest immunological organ in the human body. This is because the intestinal microbiome is also responsible for protecting and maintaining the intestinal mucosa.
Various influencing factors can cause dysbiosis, i.e. an imbalance of bacterial colonisation, in the intestinal microbiome. In this case, pathogenic germs can multiply optimally and the barrier function of the intestinal mucosa is also weakened. This can result in various diseases that are not limited to the intestine.
Microbiome and Depression
How is the gut connected to our emotional world? What influence does the microbiome have on mental illness – and what role do probiotics play?
Factors that can influence the gut microbiome
The gut microbiome is subject to a variety of different influencing factors. These include, among others:
- Geographical origin
For example, the diversity and number of intestinal bacteria changes with age. However, diet can also have an influence on the composition and functionality of the gut microbiome.
Negative influences on the microbiome
- An unbalanced diet with a high proportion of convenience foods, fast food, additives (e.g. preservatives), sugar, etc.
- Tobacco and alcohol consumption
- Lack of exercise
- Psychological factors, such as anxiety and stress
- Medication, such as antibiotics, chemotherapy, etc.
Strengthen your microbiome
You can influence some of the factors that influence the microbiome yourself. When it comes to nutrition, it therefore makes sense to focus on high-quality, fresh and fibre-rich foods. These provide optimal nutritional conditions for the "good" intestinal bacteria. For example, prebiotics, i.e. indigestible food components such as dietary fibres (e.g. inulin and oligofructose) promote the growth and activity of bacteria in the colon. Some secondary plant compounds (e.g. flavonoids in apples or anthocyanins in berries) also have a similar effect on the growth of physiological bacteria in the colon and can thus strengthen the stability of the intestinal barrier.
Regular physical activity also has a beneficial effect on the microbiome. Moderate exercise can positively influence both the quality and quantity of physiological gut bacteria. This in turn has a positive effect on the immune system.
However, certain factors such as age, genetics, or even diseases that require medication can hardly or not at all be influenced. In such cases, the use of medically relevant probiotics can be used to restore the balance in the intestine and support the body's own "good" bacteria.
The 3-step gut health concept
Our intestine is one of the most complex health systems of our body and often needs targeted support. For this reason, a 3-step concept for intestinal health was developed.
For over 30 years, Institut AllergoSan has been researching around the topic of the “gut and microbiome”. Probiotic bacteria are supplemented with plant extracts, micronutrients and dietary fibres. Depending on individual needs, products are combined to provide the intestine with all relevant nutrients.
Step 1: High-quality intestinal bacteria
Our OMNi-BiOTiC® products contain intestinal bacteria that are precisely coordinated with each other. These high-quality bacteria reach the intestine in large numbers. This allows them to fulfil different tasks at their destination because each strain of bacteria has different properties.
Step 2: Dietary Fibre
In order for the intestinal bacteria to work optimally, it is recommended to give them their favourite food. This creates an optimal habitat for them and, as a result, these “good” intestinal bacteria multiply and contribute to our general well-being.
Our OMNi-LOGiC® products offer, among other things, high-quality dietary fibres as a food source for important intestinal bacteria, so that they are provided with their favourite food.
Step 3: Micronutrients, Vitamins & Minerals
The human body needs various micronutrients and plant extracts for certain functions. The intestinal barrier in particular requires special care. This is because it is able to regulate which substances are absorbed from food and which are excreted through the intestines.
The optimised META-CARE® range offers micronutrients with the plus of plant power for the diverse demands of everyday life.