Intestine and Micro Flora
The role of intestine in the body is difficult to overestimate. It is the center of the most important life-supporting processes.
Most molecules assimilated by human body since birth are digested and absorbed in the intestine. During his or her lifespan,
a human being consumes about 30 tons of food and more than 50,000 liters of liquids. The intestine, with its length and surface
area reaching respectively 8 meters and 300 square meters, is the largest organ in the human body. It digests two kilograms of
food every day. Its surface consists of billions of cells. These cells permanently supply the body with substances that are needed
for body reconstruction and for covering body energy demands. In many cases, life circumstances exclude the possibility of low-stress
environment and correct nutrition. This results in failures of previously stable defense systems ensuring good health and work ability,
as well as failures of previously stable digestion and production of vitally important vitamins, mineral substances and proteins.
More than 2 400 years ago, the Greek physician Hippocrates said: "Death hides itself in the intestine." There is, perhaps, no other
organ in the body that directly influences on our health and well-being in the same way as intestine. Unfortunately, intestine fails
to notify immediately about the problems that occur in it. Quite often, it "draws up an account" several years later - in the form of
inflammatory diseases of intestine, irritated bowel syndrome, fat metabolism disorders, diabetes mellitus or cancer.
Intestinal micro flora consisting of about 400 species of different micro organisms whose total count exceeds 100 trillion
(this figure is 10-fold greater than the number of cells that a human body has), and whose total weight is about 3 kg,
is especially sensitive to different disorders. In normal conditions, these bacteria form a stable ecosystem.
Their task is to prevent the accumulation of harmful pathogenic bacteria and foreign substances, as well as to
neutralize or eliminate them, and, thus, to prevent their penetration into intestinal wall.
Also, beneficent intestinal micro organisms constantly train the defensive cells and, thus, indirectly strengthen the
immunological barrier of intestinal mucosa protecting the body from invasion of pathogens. Besides that, they partially
split the foreign proteins and, therefore, decrease their antigenic effects. The whole intestinal mucosa-associated immune
system related with physiological intestinal flora is the largest immune organ containing about 80% of the total population
of defensive cells of the body. Simultaneously, it serves as one of the body’s most important starting points for immunological reactions.
Intestinal colonization depends on the local environment and, especially, the immune system condition.
Excessive population of harmful bacteria leads to their increased multiplication rate resulting in intestinal dysbiosis.
Attachment of harmful bacteria to intestinal mucosa leads to restricted or stopped delivery to body cells of the nutrients
obtained with food. Thus, irrespective of the nutritional value of food, the diets used to ensure wholesome delivery of
necessary substances to body cells fail to fulfill their tasks. Notwithstanding the use of the best possible food products
and consumption of all the vital substances, the body becomes exposed to permanent self-poisoning through the intestine.
Due to dysbiosis, toxic metabolic products quickly accumulate in the intestine. Then, they overcome the mucosal barrier and
enter the blood, thus complicating the whole range of metabolic processes. This results in such processes as deposition of
waste substances, intoxication, fungal growth, peroxidal oxidation of lipids and general weakening of the body; dermatologic
and rheumatic diseases, depressive states and other disorders develop. Scientific evidence shows that pathogenic bacteria and
fungi participate in the mechanisms of development of cancer, bronchial asthma, allergy, atherosclerosis and many other diseases.
The importance of symbiotic bacterial flora is similar to that of any other organ.
At present, unfortunately, too little attention is paid to this question and to the problem of creating and supporting
the intestinal flora. An additional important aspect of bacterial flora is the effect that the intestinal health status
causes on human’s mental comfort. Nervous cell population of intestinal walls exceeds the same population of the whole
spinal cord by 100 million cells. This “abdominal brain” is a highly organized nervous system accompanying the whole
digestive tract from esophagus to rectum. The processes taking place in the abdominal brain resemble the similar cerebral
processes and utilize practically the same neurotransmitters – for example, serotonin (an agent supporting a good mood and
normalizing sleep, appetite, blood pressure, pain perception and intestinal peristalsis) and dopamine (an agent that controls
extrapyramidal motor activity and regulates blood supply of abdominal organs). Some neurotransmitters, including opioids, dopamine,
melatonin (an agent that controls internal biological clock and regulates the sleep-wake rhythm) and more than 90 % of serotonin,
are produced in the intestine itself. With the intestine, as a “production facility”, playing a significant role in low or high mood
development, many people having intestinal problems often feel constraint and depression. Depressive disorders often develop in
persons with digestive problems.