On Saturday 9th September 2017, Dr Nigel Plummer from ProVen Probiotics spoke at the IHCAN Gut Conference in London, presenting a plethora of research on the link between the microbiome and the potential for disease.
Each of us has around 100,000 billion viable microbes living in our intestines, comprising 2,000 different species and 7,000 different strains. These microbes weigh around 1.5 kgs in total and produce between two and four litres of gas per day.
The microbiota is not static, with bacterial biomass forming approximately half of our faecal mass – reflecting the dynamic nature of the microbiome and the potential that probiotics have to influence its composition.
Before introducing probiotics, it is useful to have a clear picture of the physiology and function of the gastro-intestinal tract (GIT).
The number and diversity of bacteria increases as we move down the GIT – 95% of our microbiome is in the large intestine (LI), with only around 50g (weight) of the microbiota residing in the small intestine (SI).
Despite this, our small intestine harbours most of our intestinal immune, nervous and endocrine systems – the small intestine contains 80% of our GIT immune system (which provides 80% of our overall immunity).
The other key differences between the gut microbiome in the small and large intestines include: