The human microbiota
The majority of our living cells are microbes. We host about 10 times more microbial cells than we have human cells. Extensive research in recent years shows the importance of the microbiota for normal physiology: They are absolutely essential for effective digestion (breakdown of ingested food) and strong immune function (protecting us from attack by harmful microbes). Scientists discovered that a healthy microbiota plays an important role in many other aspects of our health and well-being.
Why the microbiota is essential for our health
Our skin and mucosa are colonized by trillions of microbes collectively known as the microbiota. The microbiota consists of both beneficial commensal and harmful microbes in a healthy, natural balance. The microbiota is a very important component of our primary defense mechanism.
A healthy microbiota is specifically important because the microbes:
- prevent colonization by pathogens (competition)
- attack pathogenic bacteria (biocides)
- synthesize and excrete vitamins (nutrients for host cells)
- stimulate the development of the immune system and the tissues and support the natural healing process
Despite the enormous microbial population inhabiting the human body, including variable levels of potential harmful microbes (pathogens), most of us harbor these organisms without any signs of disease. In an unbalanced microbiota (dysbiosis), harmful microbes can dominate and breach the protective layers of our skin or mucosa. This can lead to adherence and colonization of pathogens to human skin and mucosal tissues. Such adhesion is the first step on the path to infection. When things go wrong in the microbiota we know about it. Itch and irritation, swelling, reddening and soreness can make life miserable.
Dysbiosis: how microbial imbalance can lead to infection and inflammation
The disturbance of the composition of the healthy microbiota by intruding harmful microbes (pathogens) is known as dysbiosis. These pathogens start to compete with the beneficial microbes by adhering to our epithelial tissues. Sites of entry in human hosts include the skin, the urogenital tract, the digestive tract, the respiratory tract and the eyes. Adherence of pathogenic microbes is the essential first step in the process of colonization and infection1,2. This results in an inflammatory response of our immune system to the pathogenic intruder, giving rise to symptoms such as redness, swelling, itching and/or a burning sensation.
2QR-complex: A natural, safe alternative to antibiotics to treat local microbial problems
The use of antibiotics is indispensable to treat serious infections. However, many less severe problems related to dysbiosis that don’t require (immediate) medication, are often treated with antibiotics. Antibiotics have serious drawbacks, including disturbance of the healthy microbiota and other well documented negative side-effects. The use of antibiotics can lead to the development of microbes that are resistant to antibiotics. Microbial resistance is a serious and growing problem. Some microbial infections are untreatable due to their resistance to all available classes of antibiotics. A “post-antibiotic era,” where antibiotics have become ineffective, is a realistic threat. To reduce the need for antibiotics, it is highly preferable to use non-antibiotic selfcare treatment for uncomplicated problems related to dysbiosis.
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