What do ‘good bacteria’ do in our bodies?

(Image by Claudio Ventrella/ Getty Images)

Question from Peter Fielding

Some species of bacteria are known as ‘good’ because they help to keep us healthy. The human gut is actually home to a vast population of bacteria and other microorganisms, known as the ‘gut microbiota’. The bacteria help to break down food in the gut and fight disease, so they are vital to our health.

Your gut microbiota is influenced by your diet, lifestyle, environment and whether you are taking antibiotics. It has recently been discovered that a wide range of illnesses can be linked to disruptions to the gut microbiota, including allergies, diabetes and even cancer.

Answered by Katy Sheen for Brain Dump in How It Works issue 108.

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