You are your bacteria! The probiotics and the antibiotics...

There has been on going discussions about how our gut bacteria is important for a healthy lifestyle.

Figure 1: Schematic diagram illustrating potential or known mechanisms whereby probiotic bacteria might impact on the microbiota. These mechanisms include (1) competition for dietary ingredients as growth substrates, (2) bioconversion of, for example, sugars into fermentation products with inhibitory properties, (3) production of growth substrates, for example, EPS or vitamins, for other bacteria, (4) direct antagonism by bacteriocins, (5) competitive exclusion for binding sites, (6) improved barrier function, (7) reduction of inflammation, thus altering intestinal properties for colonization and persistence within, and (8) stimulation of innate immune response (by unknown mechanisms). IEC: epithelial cells, DC: dendritic cells, T:T-cells. For further details, see main text.

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Also, an online search provides numerous articles about diet aspect that alters our gut bacteria.


1.A New Diet Quickly Alters Gut Bacteria-(not sure about the credibility and relevance to humans as the study is on mice)

2.Artificial Sweeteners Change How Our Gut Bacteria Work, Paving The Way To Diabetes And Obesity

3.Changing gut bacteria through diet affects brain function

As far as the GIT is concerned, health, lifestyle, eating habits and the environment a person is living may be at large influence and affect one's gut microbes.

Are there day to day encounters, in-depth examples and references that can prove the factors which influence our gut microbes the most?

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    $\begingroup$ There was an interesting paper that showed fecal transplants actual can switch a skinny mouse to an obese mouse and visa versa! $\endgroup$ – James Jul 8 '15 at 9:52
  • $\begingroup$ @GoodGravy mice are cute, but I am keen on human. Nonetheless please share the paper if you have. ;) $\endgroup$ – bonCodigo Jul 8 '15 at 9:59
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    $\begingroup$ I'll look it up. It is basically showing that gut bacteria are far more influential on us that previously thought, to the point where maybe (big asterisk/disclaimer) they can be applied in medicine. $\endgroup$ – James Jul 8 '15 at 15:34

Our Unique Microbial Identity (Gilbert 2015) suggests that the gut microbiome is shaped and stablized during infancy and tends to restore equilibrium if it is disturbed later in life. Antibiotics temporarily change the composition of the gut microbiome (by suppressing the growth of certain groups of bacteria more than others), but it tends to drift back to resemble its original (stable) community after treatment is stopped, likely due to the interdependency of individual strains as producers/consumers of particular compounds (i.e., some bacteria will eventually arrive to serve a particular role in the microbial community). A recent study in antibiotic treatment provides some empirical evidence of the long term effects of antibiotic treatment on the human gut microbiome.

The American Gut Project is currently open to the public for participation, and it has the goal of identifying exactly the factors you describe. They are accepting samples from individuals across the country, along with lifestyle information, including dietary habits. A related publication by the group provides a summary of the common gut bacteria implicated in a variety of diseases.

H. pylori infections are a common gut microbiome health issue. This bacteria is present in about half of gut microbiomes and are not generally harmful unless the stomach lining is already compromised (e.g., due to medication or diet). In those cases, they can become opportunistic pathogens that can persist for decades and cause peptic ulcers which can lead to a variety of difficult to diagnose ailments such as arthritis.

  • $\begingroup$ I am taking a look at the second link. But I am not sure about the first and third points of your answer. Diseases like Chron's disease changes the gut microbiome and that's quite obvious. 1, Do you mean that during pylori infection, the basic medication (to control acidity of the intestine) cause microbe colonies in gut to be altered mainly due to the drug more/rather than the infection itself? 2. Can you explain point one in detail? $\endgroup$ – bonCodigo Jul 9 '15 at 5:36
  • $\begingroup$ @bonCodigo I've made some edits to address your questions. $\endgroup$ – user16391 Jul 9 '15 at 12:33
  • $\begingroup$ It helped. Appreciate the update. $\endgroup$ – bonCodigo Jul 19 '15 at 12:14

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