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Unbalanced microbiotas and disorders

Different parts of the human body (intestines, skin...) are home to living microorganisms (bacteria, fungi, viruses...) called microbiotas, which are beneficial to our health when they are properly balanced. The disruption of this balance (referred to as dysbiosis) can be associated to several disorders, depending on the location of the affected microbiota. This is why gastroenteritis, Cohn’s disease, some gastrointestinal cancers, and even depression, diabetes, allergies and skin disorders such as eczema could be associated to microbiota imbalances. Let’s explore the link between microbiota and health!

ZOOM ON THE DYSBIOSIS

The composition of a microbiota is characterized by its diversity (number of different species present in an individual) and its abundance (total number of microorganisms present). When this composition is disrupted (change in one or both of these factors), the balance is broken and a dysbiosis emerges. This dysbiosis can be associated to several diseases but it is yet uncertain whether it is a cause or a consequence of these diseases. So, which came first, the chicken or the egg? Science has not been able to answer this question. 

FACTORS

MY MICROBOTA IS
UNBALANCED

Drugs (antibiotics…)

Alcohol and tobacco

Stress

Different
diseases

Bacterial, viral
or parasitic
infections

Sudden change
in environment
or diet

Drugs (antibiotics…)

Different diseases

Alcohol and tobacco

Bacterial, viral or parasitic
infections

Stress

Sudden change in environment
or diet

ACTING ON THE DYSBIOSIS

Good news! When the balance of a microbiota is compromised, it is possible to restore it by acting on its composition (abundance, diversity). It is called microbiota modulation. In practice, there are different ways to do so:

Through a balanced diet: low content of fat and carbohydrates and high content of fibers and foods like artichoke, garlic, onion (naturally rich in prebiotics) as well as sauerkraut, kefir, fermented dairy products (which are a source of probiotics).

By taking:

  • probiotics
  • prebiotics
  • synbiotics (combination of the former two)

In the most severe cases, restoring a healthy microbiota through fecal microbiota transplant is an alternative that has given promising results.