Alzheimer's disease & dementia

Link between Alzheimer's disease and gut microbiota is confirmed

Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia. Still incurable, it directly affects nearly one million people in Europe, and indirectly millions of family members as well as society as a whole. In recent years, ...

Immunology

Cause of inflammatory bowel disease discovered

Chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is becoming increasingly widespread. Until now, however, the underlying causes of the inflammation responses were unclear. Scientists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have ...

Alzheimer's disease & dementia

Gut bacteria may play a role in Alzheimer's disease

New research from Lund University in Sweden has shown that intestinal bacteria can accelerate the development of Alzheimer's disease. According to the researchers behind the study, the results open up the door to new opportunities ...

Medical research

Gut bacteria affect ageing

It loses its pigments, its motor skills and mental faculties decline, it gets cancer – the turquoise killifish (Nothobranchius furzeri) struggles with the same signs of old age that affect many other living creatures. Researchers ...

Medical research

Can changing the microbiome reverse lactose intolerance?

After childhood, about two-thirds of the world's human population loses the ability to digest milk. As far as we know, 100 percent of nonhuman mammals also lose this ability after weaning. The ongoing ability to digest lactose, ...

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Gut flora

The gut flora consists of the microorganisms that normally live in the digestive tract of animals. The gut flora includes much of the human flora. The term "gut flora" is interchangeable with intestinal microflora and intestinal microbiota.

The average human body, consisting of about 1013 (10,000,000,000,000 or about ten trillion) cells, has about ten times that number of microorganisms in the intestines. The metabolic activity performed by these bacteria is equal to that of a virtual organ causing some to describe the gut bacteria as a "forgotten" organ.

Bacteria make up most of the flora in the colon and 60% of the dry mass of feces. Somewhere between 300 and 1000 different species live in the gut, with most estimates at about 500. However, it is probable that 99% of the bacteria come from about 30 or 40 species. Fungi and protozoa also make up a part of the gut flora, but little is known about their activities.

Research suggests that the relationship between gut flora and humans is not merely commensal (a non-harmful coexistence), but rather is a mutualistic, symbiotic relationship. Though people can survive with no gut flora, the microorganisms perform a host of useful functions, such as fermenting unused energy substrates, training the immune system, preventing growth of harmful species, regulating the development of the gut, producing vitamins for the host (such as biotin and vitamin K), and producing hormones to direct the host to store fats. However, in certain conditions, some species are thought to be capable of causing disease by producing infection or increasing cancer risk for the host.

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA