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What are gut bacteria?

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Your body is loaded with trillions of bacteria. Paired with other tiny organisms like viruses and fungi, they make what’s known as the microbiota, or the microbiome. The mix of bacteria in your body is unique to you. It’s determined partly by your mother’s microbiota and partly by your diet and lifestyle. Between 300 to 500 different kinds containing nearly 2 million genes live in your gut. They line your entire digestive system, but most live in your intestines and colon. They help process food and affect everything from your metabolism to your mood to your immune system. They may be tied to your risk of diabetes, obesity, depression, and colon cancer.

SOURCES:

Eamonn Quigley, MD, chief of the division of gastroenterology and hepatology, Houston Methodist Hospital.

Quigley, E. Gastroenterology & Hepatology, September 2013.

Baron, S. Medical Microbiology, University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, 1996.

Singh, V. Cell Metabolism, December 2015.

Sartor, R. American Journal of Gastroenterology Supplements, 2012.

Burns, M. Genome Medicine, June 2015.

Mayer, E. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, July 2011.

Carabotti, M. Annals of Gastroenterology, April-June 2015.

Scher, J. Elife, November 2013.

Sonnenburg, E. Nature, January 2016.

Clarke, S. Gut, June 2014.

Reviewed by Minesh Khatri on May 28, 2020

SOURCES:

Eamonn Quigley, MD, chief of the division of gastroenterology and hepatology, Houston Methodist Hospital.

Quigley, E. Gastroenterology & Hepatology, September 2013.

Baron, S. Medical Microbiology, University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, 1996.

Singh, V. Cell Metabolism, December 2015.

Sartor, R. American Journal of Gastroenterology Supplements, 2012.

Burns, M. Genome Medicine, June 2015.

Mayer, E. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, July 2011.

Carabotti, M. Annals of Gastroenterology, April-June 2015.

Scher, J. Elife, November 2013.

Sonnenburg, E. Nature, January 2016.

Clarke, S. Gut, June 2014.

Reviewed by Minesh Khatri on May 28, 2020

NEXT QUESTION:

How is gut bacteria linked to diseases?

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