The intestinal flora - Why is it so important?
(Micro)nutrition, Digestion & microbiota, Dossiers thématiques

The intestinal flora - Why is it so important?

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The belly is structurally - and also biochemically - a second brain, connected directly to the encephalon, of which it is complementary. Of a rare complexity, it is often the weak link of our body.

Small zoom on the intestinal flora.

What is intestinal flora? The intestinal flora is the set of microorganisms that are found in the digestive tract, ie 100,000 billion bacteria. It's a hundred times more cells than the whole body!

The intestinal flora of an adult human can weigh between 1.5 kg and 2 kg. But we are all unique, with a microbiota (ie intestinal flora) of our own. About 1'000 different intestinal bacteria have been identified.

Why is this flora so important? Because millions of neurotransmitters are found in the gut, the same as those produced in the brain, particularly serotonin, which is made largely in the intestinal nervous system. There are more problems with depression and anxiety in people with irritable bowel syndrome, up to 75% in some studies.

The intestinal nervous system, or enteric nervous system, consists of 300 million neurons. It produces through the intestine between 70 and 80% of the immune cells. Thus, the intestinal flora stimulates the formation of immune cells and helps to make them vigilant and more active. Our health depends to a large extent on the proper balance of this intestinal ecosystem. Flora has a role of detoxification. It is able to degrade certain toxic substances coming from the outside or produced during the digestion. The flora also has the role of preventing the pathogens that are ingested daily to implant in the digestive tract; we are talking about a "barrier" effect.

By what can the intestinal flora be disturbed?

• the quality of the diet
• antibiotic treatments
• laxatives, X-rays, chemotherapy
• anti inflammatories
• the stress
• Aging which impoverishes it, etc.

An imbalance of the intestinal flora can result in disorders such as:

• a drop in shape
• fatigue
• digestive problems
• food allergies
• increased susceptibility to infections, etc.

The intestinal flora is often disrupted in the sportsman because he has to deal with the problem of ischemia and reperfusion. Indeed during a prolonged effort, intestinal irrigation can drop up to 20%, the body increasing the flow of blood to the brain and muscles.
At the end of the effort, during the restoration of the normal visceral flow, the sudden increase of the supply of oxygen to the tissues causes a massive influx of free radicals.
These will then damage the epithelial cells and tight junctions, leading to loss of tightness of the intestinal mucosa.

In athletes, an imbalance of the intestinal flora can result in disorders such as:

• tendon problems
• Difficulties to recover
• exaggerated body aches
• early fatigue
• concentration problems
• mood problems

Some digestive disorders can also cause low back pain, the pain borrowing common nerve roots between the intestines and the lower lumbar spine.

In terms of food, several tips can be given:

limit alcohol, coffee, energy drinks
focus on cooked rather than raw vegetables
consume regularly fermented foods
avoid foods that delay healing such as kiwi or plum
limit milk and dairy products, as well as gluten-rich foods
consume two cups of green tea a day, several times a week basmati rice
eat foods that help repair the mucosa such as peas, lentils, mushrooms
Posté le 01/21/2020 0

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