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Gut microbiota in early life and its influence on overall health and well-being

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SANDRA EINERHAND
Einerhand Science & Innovation BV

More than 2000 years ago, Hippocrates already recognized the importance of the gut for overall well-being by stating that ‘all disease begins in the gut’. Nowadays, it becomes increasingly clear that not only the gut itself, but also the microbes that colonize the gut are essential to our overall health and well-being. The gut constitutes one of the largest organ surface areas in our body, comparable to the size of a tennis court. This large surface area helps to efficiently digest and absorb nutrients from food. During a normal lifetime, about 60 tons of food passes through our gut, along with an abundance of microbes derived from the environment (1). About 40 trillions of micro-organisms are living in our digestive tract (2). This implies that human beings are in fact a sublime mixture of human and microbial cells. Scientists have only quite recently recognized the importance of the gut microbiota and often refer to it as a separate organ crucial for overall well-being. To date, the gut microbiome is intensely studied.

Each year more papers are being published and this year about 4500 peer-reviewed papers are estimated to be published. Gradually, the secrets of a h ...



 

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