Bacteria in guts of human are a classic example of coexistence of life. These bacteria stay in such a harmony with human body that they eventually become a part of it. Like true friend gut bacteria are helpful to combat against many diseases. If you are clueless what gut microflora is then let us simplify it below. 

What is microflora

Flora is a term used for either plants or bacteria. Here in the context of microflora, ‘flora’ denotes to bacteria. 

Microflora is a set of bacteria in human body. If there is any living being without whom you can not sustain, then it ought to be microflora. They are imperative for health of a person, more so for a child


Alternative names of microflora

What are types of microflora ?

Microbiome occupy human body, on areas which are exposed to outside environment. Examples of such sites are skin and mucus surfaces. Here are the different places where microflora is found 

Area inside mouth

Trachea and Bronchus

Stomach, small and large intestine

Surface of skin 

Urinary tract, birth canal and external part of genitalia 

Out of all these types of resident flora, gut-flora is the most crucial one, followed by skin-flora.

How vast is gut microflora ?

Microflora of a single human comprises 10-100 trillions of bacteria. This is huge. It is even more than aggregate number of cells present in a human body. And it is significantly more than world human population. 

Gut flora of an individual has close to 1000 species of bacteria. This would weigh roughly between 1.5 – 2kg in an adult.

This is beyond belief. But that’s how creation is.  Sometimes reality is weirder than imagination. 

Symbiosis vs Dysbiosis

Human body act as host by giving shelter and food to microflora of gut. In exchange bacteria pay this rent by keeping its host healthy. This is a perfect example of symbiosis. 


More and more of researches are carried out these days regarding role of bacteria in guts of child. it is vitally important for parents to be aware of importance of gut flora. Below are 13 ways how these microbiota can impact health of a child. 

1. Maintain barrier function and prevent leaky gut.

A layer of cells lines gut lumen. This is called mucus epithelium, which is similar to outer cell lining of skin. But unlike skin, mucus epithelium secrets a gel like substance called mucus. This mucus covers and protects gut. 

Mucus cell lining of digestive tract acts like a barrier. It blocks invasion of infective bacteria into gut wall. Gut bacteria not only protects this barrier by maintaining epithelium layer, but also reforms it when damaged. 

In case of depleted gut flora, a child develops leaky gut syndrome. This presents with diarrhoea, indigestion, excess bloating and gas formation, weakness. Also in in leaky gut syndrome, as gut barrier is denuded, toxins can easily enter blood.

2. Maturation and development of immunity

A country needs a strong defence force, so that it can function peacefully. ‘Immunity’ is defence system of human body, that keeps someone healthy. Good bacteria in guts augments both nonspecific and specific immunity. Hence they play their part in fighting against bad bacteria.

Further these friendly bacteria don’t let disease causing organisms to grow by following 3 manners.


  • prevent their colonisation in gut
  • compete for food
  • secrete ‘bacteriocin’ to hinder growth of pathogenic bacteria 


3. Digest complex carbohydrates like fibres

Gut-flora has those enzymes that can digest certain complex carbohydrates, which otherwise is indigestible by human. One such illustration is assimilation of soluble fibres in intestine. 

That’s why soluble fibres act as prebiotics ( i.e. food for bacterial growth ) . We have previously detailed benefits of soluble and insoluble fibres in diet of a child in a separate post. 

4. Produce amino acids and small chain fatty acids

Gut bacteria ferment some indigestible carbohydrates and form small chain fatty acids as a byproduct. These bacteria also produce nutrients like amino acids. 

5. Synthesise vitamins

Vitamin B12 can not be synthesised by human or plants. Human acquire it from animal sources of food. So a purely vegetarian child is at risk of vitamin B 12 deficiency. 

Here gut flora is a saviour. They synthesise vitamin B12. Besides B12, they also prepare and release other vitamins like B2, folic acid and vitamin K etc. 

6. Gut motility and prevent constipation

Gut bacteria itself forms a sizeable part of stool volume, which is around 25-54 %. As they make stool bulkier, it passes easily through bowel. 

In other words gut bacteria improve bowel motion and counter constipation

7. Prevents obesity

Obesity is a common issue in kids, these days. Bacteria in guts regulate appetite of a child. They also control energy and calorie harvesting from food. That way gut flora is useful in maintaining proper weight of child. 

Researches has proved that when bacteria from gut of a fat mouse is transferred to a normal mouse, then the later ends up being obese too. Thus obesity of a child is influenced by its gut flora. 

8. Prevents diabetes

Gut microbiome avert not only obesity but also other metabolic syndromes. This includes predisposition to diabetes in later years.

9. Prevent gut inflammation

Inflammation in lay man’s term is soreness ( redness, pain and swelling ). There are diseases like IBD ( inflammatory bowel disease ) and IBS ( irritable bowel syndrome ) where gut soreness or inflammation is the chief pathology

Gut microbes protect against these diseases by alleviating gut inflammation

10. Regulate behaviour of child

Friendly microflora in gut regulate a child’s behaviour through ‘gut – brain-axis’. That’s why a child with depleted gut flora are susceptible for behavioural disorders. One such prevalent behavioural abnormality is autism

Autism is a condition where a child’s speech and its ability to interact socially is impeded. Healthy gut bacteria have protective benefit from autism. That’s quite baffling and interesting at the same time. 

In addition to that, gut produces specific chemicals called as neurotransmitters. Serotonin is one such neurotransmitter known to defy depression and elevate mood. 

11. Atopy or allergy

Atopy as a matter of fact is a type of allergy. We have briefed about atopy in previous article on “Hidden factors that affect development of asthma in a child”. 

There are 3 prevailing categories of childhood atopy namely 

  • Skin atopy or eczema 
  • Food allergy 
  • Asthma 

Healthy microflora in gut lessens a child’s liability to get atopy and allergy. 

12. Autoimmune diseases

Immune system of a person is designed for protecting us against diseases. But at times when immune system of an individual acts against own body, that fosters autoimmune diseases

Gut microbes defends against autoimmune diseases, as they play an important role in maturation of immune system. 

Type 1 diabetes is one such autoimmune condition that is countered to some extent by healthy gut bacteria.

13. Detoxification

These friendly bacteria in guts detoxify, harmful drugs and toxins. They deactivates pro-carcinogens ( cancer causing agents) also. That’s how they discourage cancer. 

FMT ( Fecal microbiota transplant )

Every individual’s gut microbial flora composition is distinct. In general more diverse the microbes the better it is. 

Animal studies have proved that if microbiome of a healthy gut is taken and then transplanted inside a diseased individual’s gut, then the later gets better.

The diseases for which this novel concept of FMT ( Fecal Microbiota transplant) is tried are IBD ( inflammatory bowel disease ) and IBS ( irritable bowel syndrome). 


Gut or alimentary canal is not just for digestion and absorption of food. It has numerous functions. Gut also secrets neurotransmitters which interplay with function of other organs. Hence eating healthy and preserving gut flora is pivotal for a healthy body. 


All the informations provided here are for educational and awareness purpose only. Kindly do not use these as alternative to medical consultation.


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