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12 things you never knew about your GUT

  • 22 July 2019

To celebrate World Microbiome Day in June 2019 Sarah Louise Killeen sent WITS 12 things you never knew about your gut. The facts are from APC Microbiome Ireland in Cork.

  1. The surface area of your gut/gastrointestinal tract is the same size as 2 tennis courts! The large surface area allows the nutrients from your digested food to be more efficiently absorbed into the blood.
  2. You have 1.3 times more microbes than human cells in your body.
  3. Each person has a microbiome as individual as their fingerprint.
  4. One hundred trillion microbes live in and on every person – this community is your microbiome. We have a symbiotic relationship with our microbiome; that is the partnership between us and our microbes is mutually beneficial – we give them a nice place to live and some nutrients and they provide us with even better nutrients and help develop our immune system!
  5. If you lined up your microbes end to end they would circle the globe 2.5 times
  6. 95% of your microbiota live in the gastrointestinal tract.
  7. Your gut microbiota weighs between 1 and 2kg
  8. The genes in your microbiome outnumber the genes in the human genome by 150:1
  9. Scientists have identified more than 10,000 different species of microbes living in and on the human body
  10. It is thought that 90% of human diseases can be linked back to the gut and health of the microbiome
  11. The microbiome is more readily accessible and manipulable than the human genome – the food you eat and the exercise you take can change your microbiome
  12. Ireland is considered a world leader in gut health, with ten of the most cited researchers in the world in the field of gut health based at APC Microbiome at UCC.

Sarah Louise works on the Get Gutsy study at UCD that looks at probiotics and health. She wrote an article on the gut for Dr. Ciara Kelly's website, read it here.