Microbiota refers to all microorganisms present in the human organism, including bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi. Advances in microbiology have enabled to identify large numbers of micro-organisms in the digestive tract but also in different parts of the body, such as in the surface or deep layers of skin (skin microbiota), the mouth (oral microbiota), the vagina (vaginal microbiota).
The equilibrium of these micro-organism communities and the interactions and synergies with human cells are key to health outcomes.
The gut microbiota is the name given to the microbe population living in our intestine that contains tens of trillions of microorganisms, including at least 1000 different species of known bacteria with more than 3 million genes (150 times more than human genes).
The composition of gut microbiota is unique to each individual. The first few years of life are important for microbiota establishment as microbial communities assemble on and in individual bodies throughout those first years.
Gut microbiota plays a role in different functions in the body barrier effect, immune functions and many other areas that remain to be explored. These discoveries have opened exciting perspectives in the prevention and treatment of numerous health conditions.