THE MICROBIOTA IS COMPOSED BY MICROORGANISMS ESSENTIAL FOR OUR IMMUNE SYSTEM
The microbiota is composed by microorganisms, bacteria, viruses, and fungi that together constitute ten times the organism that hosts them. They are fundamental for the immune system and our health.
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN FOOD – NUTRITION AND HEALTH and MICROBIOTA,
That group of microorganisms, bacteria, viruses constitute the first barrier to our health.
The consequences of nutrition are not exclusively dependent on individual foods. Our body needs proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals, recently it was discovered the importance of polyphenols and antioxidants in general.
The world of medicine in recent years has witnessed a rapid evolution. It was discovered that the interaction between food and the body is regulated by the intestinal microbiota.
DNA decoding that has only recently occurred has allowed us to achieve a greater understanding of the bacteria present in our gut.
Our microbiota is composed of microorganisms – bacteria, viruses, fungi – that together exceed ten times the total number of cells in the body. The genome of these organisms is 150 times greater than the genes of the human being that hosts them.
The microbiota interacts with the intestinal barrier in an intelligent way, stimulating the immune system located along the gastrointestinal tract, keeping it in full efficiency and ready to react to external aggressions. The process that operates in the microbiota is also replicated in the respiratory system, skin, organic systems that both represent the interface with the outside world.
The gastrointestinal immune system is able to coexist with resident bacteria, while it is activated by reacting as a barrier to foreign microorganisms.
This relationship is functional if the gut barrier is intact and the microbiota is healthy.
The intestinal barrier is given by the layer of mucosa that lines the inner side of the intestine and acts as a barrier with the outside.
The immune system cells present to determine which molecules can be allowed to enter the body and which cannot.
The intestinal barrier acts as a critically important immunological filter.
When this barrier is altered as a result of intestinal infections or due to severe physical or psychological stress, or due to the assumption of drugs, or systematic diseases or even after extreme and long-lasting sports, or when a diet is deficient in fiber or complex carbohydrates and this does not allow the production of an important substance – the fatty acid butyrate, the barrier no longer functions as a sentinel and allows the unfiltered passage of substances or bacteria that may give rise to allergic reactions or intolerances.
In this way, the intestinal immune system is not able to identify the “enemies”, and bacteria normally resident in the intestinal system, find their way to other organs, causing damage.
Recent is the discovery of the bacterium (Escherichia coli) able to stimulate the formation of thrombi in the coronary arteries, which give rise to a heart attack.
Symptoms may appear such as skin allergies, diarrhea, abdominal bloating, pain, recurrent respiratory or urinary infections, or milder disorders such as headache, asthenia, and general malaise.
Celiac disease also has a similar mechanism, but it is triggered by genetically predisposed individuals; in non-predisposed individuals, however, gluten does not create any type of pathology, except in the case of gluten sensitivity, whose pathogenesis is unknown and probably (according to the latest research) not related to gluten but to other proteins.
( Source: “Mangiare italiano – per stare meglio e vivere più a lungo – Luca Piretta, Rizzoli, ed. May 2020”, ch. 4 Bacteria no longer enemies: the intestinal microbiota, pg 85 -91)