2023 results: The International Microbiota Observatory Archives

The Biocodex Microbiota Institute commissioned Ipsos to conduct a major international survey of 6,500 people in 7 countries (France, Spain, Portugal, U.S., Brazil, Mexico and China) to better understand people’s knowledge and behavior with regard to their microbiota.

This exclusive survey reveals both a general lack of understanding of how the microbiota affects our health and the essential role of healthcare professionals in imparting knowledge.

1. The microbiota: a little-known organ crucial for our health...


Only 1 in 5 of those surveyed claimed to know exactly what the word microbiota meant.


The microbiota is often confined to bacteria and the intestine. But it is so much more than that...
More specifically, only 24% of those surveyed said they knew exactly what the gut microbiota is.


Only 1 in 4 people had ever heard of the term dysbiosis (in other words, a microbiota imbalance).


how well do we know it?

The gut microbiota

Only 24% of those surveyed said they knew exactly what the gut microbiota is.

Learn more about the gut microbiota...
The vaginal microbiota

Only 18% of those surveyed said they knew exactly what the vaginal microbiota is.

Learn more about the vaginal microbiota...
Discover the results dedicated to women's health...
The oral microbiota

Only 17% of those surveyed said they knew exactly what the oral microbiota is.

Learn more about the oral microbiota...
The pulmonary microbiota

Only 13% of those surveyed said they knew exactly what the pulmonary microbiota is.

Learn more about the pulmonary microbiota...
Microbiota imbalance

Only 1 in 4 people had ever heard of the term dysbiosis (in other words, a microbiota imbalance).

Learn more about dysbiosis...

2. The microbiota is an organ that must be cared for, which is no easy task!

Good habits

Un régime méditerranéen, bon pour le corps, bon pour le cœur

Only 1 in 2 people claimed to have already adopted behaviors to improve their microbiota balance (57%), generally doing so just “a little” (42%).

Intestinal problems

And just 1 in 2 people having suffered from a digestive condition involving the microbiota had made the connection (52%).


62% of respondents thought that consuming probiotics helped to maintain healthy microbiota balance and function.


What exactly are probiotics?

Find out more...
IBS and microbiota

3. Microbiota explained by healthcare professionals: the key to encouraging good practices!


More than 9 out of 10 people who repeatedly benefited from information from their healthcare professional had adopted behaviors to maintain a balanced microbiota, compared to 57% among all respondents.


Only 2 out of 5 people said their doctor had informed them of the appropriate behaviors to adopt to preserve their microbiota balance.


Only one in three people had been informed by their healthcare professional that taking antibiotics could upset their microbiota balance. This is a small proportion, given that only two thirds of respondents (66%) said they knew antibiotics affected the microbiota.

Quote Murielle Escalmel

“The survey has shown that patients who receive information from healthcare professionals have a healthier approach to their microbiota. What’s more, it triggers virtuous behavioral cycles. So we need to give healthcare professionals more support to fully integrate the microbiota into the patient care pathway.”

Murielle Escalmel Scientific Communication Director - Biocodex Microbiota Institute
Antibiotics: what impact on the microbiota and on our health?

Antibiotics: their effects on microbiota and our health?

Find out more...
Photo Observatoire: Le microbiote à chaque étape de la vie : des parents sensibilisés, des seniors peu informés

4. Microbiota at every stage of life: parents are aware, but seniors are not adequately informed

Parents and their microbiota

66% of parents reported having adopted practices in favor of maintaining a balanced microbiota vs. 50% of seniors.

Nearly 1 in 2 parents had been informed by their healthcare professional of the digestive problems associated with antibiotics (48%) vs. just 1 in 3 of the over-60s (36%).

Seniors and their microbiota

How to keep a healthy microbiota?

Only 26% of seniors had received information about the microbiota and its role from their healthcare professional (vs. 37% overall).

Women and their microbiota

Only 1 in 2 women were aware of the variations in the composition of the vaginal microbiota at the different stages of their lives. Yet it is essential to intimate health (52%).

Photo Observatoire: Running

5. Microbiota worldwide: glaring differences

  • More than 4 out of 5 French people were familiar with the term microbiota (81%)
    vs less than 1 in 2 Americans (53%).

  • Nearly 1 in 2 Chinese people (44%) knew that the microbiota could be associated with diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, etc.
    vs only 1 in 5 Europeans (20%).

  • 64% of Brazilians had already adopted habits to maintain a balanced microbiota
    vs 47% of French people and Americans

  • 69% of Chinese people had been made aware of the importance of preserving their microbiota balance as much as possible by their healthcare professional
    vs 27% of French people and 29% of Americans.

Etienne Mercier, Director of the Opinion and Health Division for Ipsos, comments on the results

Photo Observatoire: Vignette Etienne Mercier - EN


The Ipsos Panel conducted a major online international survey involving 6,500 individuals, surveyed between March 21 and April 7, 2023 in 7 countries: the United States, Brazil, Mexico, France, Portugal, Spain and China.

Data was collected using the quota method, which is the most commonly used sampling plan for obtaining a representative sample of a study population. The quota variables for each country were:

  • gender
  • age
  • region
  • socio-professional category

The survey population included 48% men and 52% women. The average age was 46.9 years. The sample of 6,500 individuals allowed a detailed analysis by age group: 18-24, 25-34, 35-44, 45-59, 60 and over.

The 26-question included:

  • socio-demographic data
  • assessment of knowledge of the microbiota
  • the level of and desire for information from healthcare professionals
  • identification and adoption of behaviors aimed at combating microbiota imbalance
  • women’s level of knowledge, information and behavior with regard to the vulvovaginal microbiota
  • health data

Recommended by our community

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"Biocodex Microbiota Institute thanks for sharing this great observatory. Consumer education on microbiome must be on the top priorities if we want to make a healthier microbiome a reality for all! You are doing a great job!" - Dr. Amine ZORGANI (From Biocodex Microbiota Institute on LinkedIn)

"Biocodex Microbiota Institute great content and vision!" - Dr. Amine ZORGANI (From Biocodex Microbiota Institute on LinkedIn)

"Interesting !" - Véronique Molénat (From Biocodex Microbiota Institute on LinkedIn)