The gut microbiome
As part of the overall human microbiome, each of us has around 100,000 billion viable bacteria living in our intestines, comprising over 1,000 different species and more than 5,000 strains. These microbes weigh around 1.5 kg in total and are referred to collectively as the gut microbiome.
95% of the gut microbiome is in the large intestine, with only around 50g (weight) of the microbiome residing in the small intestine.
The gut microbiome is also referred to as the gut bacteria, gut microbes, gut microorganisms, gut microbiota, gut microflora, gut flora and the intestinal bacteria.
Although we all have similar bacteria, everybody has their own individual microbiome, influenced by diet, environment, genetics and early exposure to microbes.
And, just as not all bacteria are bad, our gut bacteria are not all good either. We all carry strains of bacteria that might be considered to be ‘bad’, but balance between the good and the bad microbes is the key to a healthy microbiome. A healthy diet and lifestyle are both key to supporting this balance, as medications (particularly antibiotics), alcohol, sugar and other unhealthy choices will all have an effect and potentially enable the over-growth of the unfriendly microbes.