Excellent run-down of gut flora, exploring its types, its role in immune and systemic health, and how it all works to keep us healthy (or in some cases, unhealthy!).

The Paleo Nurse

gut flloraAlthough the main functions of the digestive system were once believed to include little beyond the breakdown of food into usable energy for the body and elimination of waste, the digestive tract is also home to 100 trillion microorganisms, known as the gut flora. The majority of these microorganisms are bacteria, with a small percentage consisting of fungi and protozoa. The functions of the gut flora are complex enough to resemble those of an organ, leading some researchers to refer to the gut flora as a “forgotten organ”.  Indeed, the gut flora plays a number of roles so vital to the human body that if the gut were to be sterilized, long-term survival would be unlikely.

Types of Gut Flora

There are three main categories of microorganisms found in the gut:

1.)  Essential Flora:  This is the “friendly” bacteria that is found in the gut.  In the healthy individual, essential flora dominates and controls other types of less desirable microorganisms.  When functioning…

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