The human gut microbiota: stability and diversity

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The human gut microbiota is a highly complex ecosystem consisting of communities of microorganisms that interact with each other and with their host. Specific physiologic features of this relationship include the development of innate and adaptive immunity, relative susceptibilities to infections, immune tolerance, bioavailability of nutrients, and intestinal barrier function.

The use of antibiotics may have the undesirable effect of temporarily or permanently disturbing the microbial environment and promoting the emergence of opportunistic infections such as Clostridium difficile, affect weight and obesity and even influence mental health. Researchers and healthcare practitioners have considered the administration of probiotic supplementation a potentially important treatment for addressing antibiotic induced microbiota disturbances, with a variety of species and strains studied. Given the complex nature and diversity of the human microbial system it makes sense to consider a broad spectrum, multispecies probiotic supplement when supporting patients during and after antibiotics treatment. Combinations of different species and strains may better replicate the ecological nature of the human gut microbiota with the potential to maximise sustainable beneficial functions.

In this infographic we explore the effects of antibiotics on the human gut microbiota and review those studies exploring the benefits offered from probiotic supplements.

References

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melissalee's picture
Melissa Lee
Melissa is a designer turned nutritionist, who for the past 6 years has been combining the two modalities to create purposeful designs for various health publications and websites. Having initially studied Multimedia Systems Design, she then went on to complete a BHSc in Nutritional Medicine which led to her involvement in the integrative medicine industry and eventually to FX Medicine.