मानव शरीर में सूक्ष्मजीव काम करते हैं Microbes at work in the human body

Author : Dr. P. D.GUPTA

Former Director Grade Scientist, Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad, India


We have about 1013-14 cells in our body and every cell has a role to play in other words cell is a basic unit of life.  Many organisms have only one cell and they do all essential activities for life within that cell only. Among many types, bacteria are the one in this group of organisms. All such creatures put together are called “microbes”.   Many of them live along with our cells, just about every part of the human body, living on the skin, in the gut, and up the nose. For their play, they get energy from the food that we eat; along with our cells. Microbes that inhabit in our body sometimes cause sickness, but most of the time, microorganisms live in harmony with their human hosts, providing vital functions essential for human survival. The gut bacteria according to one estimate are ten times more than the number of cells present in our body all of them put together contribute to the well-being of our body. One of the most important things microbes do for us is to help with digestion. The mix of microbes in your gut can affect how well you use and store energy from food.

Though Mother Nature has provided many enzymes to digest the food we eat but still the digestion process is not complete unless the bacteria residing in our gut help with digestion. The mix of microbes in our gut can affect how well one uses and stores energy from the consumed food.  

The gut is called the second brain

The nervous system present in the gut and that regulates our gut is often called the body's “second brain.” Although it can't compose poetry or solve equations, this extensive network uses the same chemicals and cells as the brain to help us digest and to alert the brain when something is amiss.

 Gut resets aim to restore the balance of the microbiome by:

·          removing foods that feed harmful bacteria and cause inflammation.

·          introducing plenty of prebiotic foods, which feed beneficial bacteria.

·          encouraging healthful practices, such as getting enough sleep and exercise and staying hydrated.

Thus the gut takes over some responsibilities of the brain,, Gut microbes produce or help produce many of the chemical neurotransmitters that convey messages between your gut and brain. They also produce other chemicals that can affect the brain through the bloodstream. Your brain and gut, in turn, can affect gut bacteria by altering its environment.

The influence of microbes community doesn’t play a role in digestion alone but also plays a role in mental health and brain disorders such as autism, epilepsy, and depression by interacting with our nervous system and even releasing molecules that can perhaps make their way to the brain.  

Gut Bacteria Affect the Brain

A difficult life situation can be enough to reduce the diversity (number of different kinds) of gut bacteria and to increase the number of bad bacteria in the gut. These changes in the gut microbes can cause changes in the brain, as well—increasing the risk of brain disorders such as depression.

Gut microbes produce or help produce many chemical neurotransmitters that convey messages between the gut and the brain. They also produce other chemicals that can affect the brain through the blood. Furthermore, there is growing evidence that gut microbes also contribute to acute brain injuries like stroke(s) and traumatic brain injury. Microbes-gut-brain communications are bidirectional and involve metabolite production and modulation of immune and neuronal functions.

 Antibiotics fight bacteria

Though antibiotics, keep us safe from serious health complications. But these drugs have a dark side. Antibiotics don't distinguish between good and bad microbes. Antibiotics can cause significant damage to good gut microbes too. However, the elimination is not permanent and after the drug stopped they grow back to baseline within 6 months.

 To support the gut microbes, try the following:

·         Eat more foods high in fiber and/or polyphenols, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and whole grains

·         Add more fermented foods to your diet. These include yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha, and kimchi

·         Try to avoid saturated fats, artificial sweeteners, and processed meats

Can you take probiotics and antibiotics at the same time? Yes. In fact, doing so during and after antibiotic treatment can help protect against infection caused by the overgrowth of drug-resistant bacteria. (The author has his own study and views)