All the microorganisms (bacteria, yeast, fungi, viruses) living an a specific environment, called microbiome, in a host animal or plant.
The human microbiota corresponds to all the microorganisms that have colonized your body and with which you cohabitate: mainly bacteria, but also viruses, fungi, yeast and protozoa. Its composition differs according to the surfaces colonized: cutaneous microbiota, vaginal microbiota, urinary microbiota, respiratory microbiota, ENT microbiota and intestinal microbiota, also called the intestinal flora, by far the largest with 100 trillion microorganisms.
Dysbiosis is an imbalance between microbiota and its host and results from changes in the composition of bacterial flora. It is related to several different diseases.
In a healthy person (host), microbial flora (or microbiota) is an ensemble of microorganisms, bacteria, fungi, and viruses living together in a perfectly structured, harmonious system. The host and their microbiota have a very close relationship, and interact so that each one functions appropriately.
Various events can disturb this equilibrium:
• Medical treatments (particularly antibiotics),
• Viral, bacterial, or parasitic infections
• Immune deficits
• Various diseases
• Harsh changes in environment or diet
All of these factors can cause more or less lasting changes: harmful microbes (pathobionts) can become dominant, protective microbes can become more rare, and microbiota diversity becomes less rich.
Dysbiosis, cause or effect of disease?
Dysbiosis has been described in the intestinal microbiota in various gastrointestinal and metabolic diseases. It may also be involved in certain neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders. However, researchers still don’t know if dysbiosis is a cause or an effect of these diseases. The leading hypothesis is that it’s a vicious cycle: dysbiosis is influenced by environmental and genetic factors, but it also plays a role in the onset and severity of these diseases.
To rebalance your microbiota, beneficial microorganisms are promoted through the consumption of probiotics, prebiotics, and synbiotics. At the same time, dietary changes can be made, prioritizing foods high in fiber (artichokes, garlic, onions, etc.) and fermented foods (sauerkraut), which are sources of prebiotics. Finally, in the most serious cases, fecal transplant can be used to correct dysbiosis.