The microbiome

The intestine is lined by a single-row layer of intestinal cells (enterocytes), which are connected to each other at the base by tight junctions.

A protective layer of mucus lies on the intestinal cells, forming a kind of protective wall against intruders. (Comparable to the acid mantle of the skin or the city walls of Lucerne). This mucus protective layer is mainly regulated by 2 bacteria: Akkermansia muciniphila and Faecalbacterium prausnitzii. Additionally, billions of bacteria live on the mucus protective layer, which have very different tasks and are partly friends or enemies. In addition, viruses and fungi live there, sometimes also amoebae.

Some bacteria form the police (e.g. bifidus bacteria and lactobacilli), some bacteria produce vitamins, some short-chain fatty acids from which the intestinal cells feed. Some, for example, strengthen the immune defense (E.coli nissle) some weaken it (enteropathogenic E.coli).

The intestine is a highly sensitive ecosystem that lives in constant fluid equilibrium. Factors such as stress, environmental toxins, emulsifiers, food additives, medications, exercise, lack of sleep, but especially diets low in vegetables, sugar and fiber throw it out of balance. Depending on the “trauma”, the composition of the intestinal ecosystem then changes.

For example, putrefactive bacteria like to multiply under an improper diet with lots of saturated animal fats and a lack of plant-based food.
After antibiotic therapy, the protective mucus layer is very often absent, and the police (lactobacilli and bifidus bacteria) are also absent. With continuous use of gastric acid blockers, mouth and skin germs get into the upper part of the small intestine because the stomach acid is no longer acidic enough to kill them off, leading to poor colonization(SIBO).

If the intestine had a very good and intact ecosystem with a high diversity of germs before the trauma, then it can recover on its own. However, if the intestine is already damaged, it recovers only with difficulty after a “trauma” and needs months or even years until its ecosystem has sorted itself out again. Sometimes he does not recover at all and remains permanently stricken.

If the microbiome is now permanently disturbed, it needs support to regain its balance. Here, one can now support and rebuild the microbiome with prebiotics and probiotics and appropriate nutritional therapy as well as with phytotherapeutics. Depending on the problem, this can be fast but sometimes can take quite a long time.


Image of intestinal barriers ©SymbioPharm GmbH