How does our microflora affect us? Be sure to do the following before starting your discussion: Go to and learn about Human Microbiome Project. Go to and listen to the BBC radio program on Human Microbiomes. Read these articles: Based on what you have learned from the website, article, and chapter 14 (Tortora) about microflora, write a two-paragraph discussion on how microflora influences our health and what can we do to sustain a healthy microflora in our body.

Our microflora, also known as the microbiota, refers to the community of microorganisms that reside in and on our bodies. These microorganisms include bacteria, fungi, viruses, and other microbes, and they play a crucial role in influencing our health and well-being. The Human Microbiome Project (HMP) is a research initiative that aimed to characterize the human microbiota and understand how it affects human health. This project has provided valuable insights into the diverse functions of our microflora and has opened up new avenues for understanding and treating various diseases.

One of the key ways in which our microflora influences our health is through its role in maintaining immune system function. Our microbiota helps train and regulate our immune system, teaching it to differentiate between harmless substances and potential threats. This is particularly important in early life when the immune system is still developing. Studies have shown that infants who are exposed to a diverse range of microorganisms early in life have a lower risk of developing allergies and autoimmune disorders later on. It is believed that the presence of a healthy and diverse microflora helps to “educate” the immune system, promoting tolerance and preventing it from over-reacting to harmless substances.

In addition to immune system regulation, our microflora also influences our digestion and metabolism. Certain bacteria in our gut, for example, play a crucial role in breaking down complex carbohydrates and fiber that we cannot digest on our own. These bacteria produce enzymes that break down dietary fibers into short-chain fatty acids, which can be used as a source of energy by our body. Moreover, our microflora affects our metabolism by influencing the absorption and metabolism of various nutrients and vitamins. For example, certain bacteria in our gut produce enzymes that help convert inactive forms of certain vitamins into their active forms, which can then be absorbed by our body.

In order to sustain a healthy microflora in our body, it is essential to maintain a balanced and diverse microbial community. One of the key factors that influence the composition of our microflora is our diet. A diet rich in fiber, fruits, vegetables, and fermented foods provides the necessary nutrients and prebiotics (substances that promote the growth of beneficial bacteria) for a healthy microflora. On the other hand, a diet high in processed foods, added sugars, and saturated fats can lead to an imbalance in the microflora, favoring the growth of harmful bacteria.

In addition to diet, antibiotics and other medications can also disrupt the balance of our microflora. Antibiotics, for example, can kill off both harmful and beneficial bacteria, leading to a decrease in microbial diversity and potentially allowing for the overgrowth of harmful bacteria. Therefore, it is important to only use antibiotics when necessary and to take steps to restore and replenish the beneficial bacteria that may have been affected.

Furthermore, maintaining good hygiene practices, such as regular handwashing and proper food handling, can also help prevent the overgrowth of harmful bacteria and reduce the risk of infections. It is important to note that while maintaining a healthy microflora is important, it is not necessary to completely eliminate all bacteria from our body. In fact, some bacteria are essential for our health and can provide protection against pathogens. Therefore, taking a balanced approach and promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria while keeping harmful bacteria in check is crucial for maintaining a healthy microflora.