Santa Cruz de Tenerife, November 7 2019
Intestinal microbiota, previously referred to as intestinal flora, is the name given to all the microorganisms living in our intestine in harmony with our organism. According to Dr. Carmen Dorta, specialist in the Gastrointestinal Tract at Hospiten, when the microbiota suffers changes, it causes a condition called disbiosis.
To detect these imbalances, Hospiten tests a stool sample to determine the quantity and quality of beneficial microorganisms and pathogens in the patient’s intestinal microbiota. After the test the patient is given a detailed report on the results of the test and some guidelines on diet and supplements to correct any imbalances.
“An adult has around 100 billion different microorganisms in his/her gastrointestinal tract, which may be between 500 and 1000 different species”, states Dr. Dorta. Furthermore, she says that only a third of the intestinal microbiota is common to the general population, while the other two thirds are specific to each individual. So, “we could say it is a personal identity card, as it is unique to each person”.
The main functions of intestinal microbiota are to prevent colonization of other pathogenic microorganisms, to help digest food and produce vitamins B and K, which the body cannot synthesize. They also ensure the immune system works properly.
The composition of the microbiota may remain stable throughout adult life, although there are several factors that can affect it causing disbiosis, like old age, stress, a diet poor in fruit and vegetables, high quantities of alcohol, saturated fats, refined flour, fast food, an excess of animal proteins, medications like antibiotics and chronic consumption of stomach protectors, anti-inflammatories, corticosteroids and chemotherapy.
Relationship between intestinal disbiosis and chronic disease
Dr. Dorta adds that there is scientific evidence that shows a relationship between disbiosis and chronic diseases like Irritable Bowel Syndrome, inflammatory intestine disease (Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis), Type 2 diabetes, obesity, allergies, asthma, autoimmune diseases and migraines. “The existence of the brain-intestine axis that connects the central nervous system to the intestinal microbiota through the vagus nerve is well known. Thus, in addition to chronic diseases that have been classically related to alterations in the microbiota, other pathologies of the central nervous system such as autism, anxiety, depression and alcohol dependence have also been related. In fact, it has been shown that children with lower intestinal microbial diversity are more susceptible to allergies and asthma,” says the Hospiten specialist.
The Hospiten Group is an international health network committed to providing top quality services, with 50 years of experience, which has twenty private medical-hospital centers in Spain, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Jamaica and Panama, and more than one hundred outpatient centers, under the brand Clinic Assist. The group is chaired by Dr. Pedro Luis Cobiella and annually attends more than 1,700,000 patients from around the world, and has a workforce of more than 5,000 people.