Sometimes referred to as the ‘forgotten organ’, the human microbiome comprises over 100 trillion organisms, most of which live in the gut. These friendly microorganisms are essential for maintaining digestive health and supporting general wellbeing. They help us to digest dietary fibre, protect us from infections and help to strengthen the immune system. It is important to maintain a large variety of microbiota in the gut, and upsetting this balance can cause health problems.
According to Dr Hamid Merchant, spokesperson for the charity Guts UK and leader in pharmacy at the University of Huddersfield, the gut is a gateway to the body. “We are what we eat,” he says. “The symbiotic relationship of our body with our gut microbiota holds many secrets to a healthy life, while dysbiosis can open doors to chronic illnesses.”