Bacteria in the Digestive System

Bacteria are all around us, even inside our own bodies. Some types of bacteria, known as pathogens, can cause disease. However, there are also many beneficial bacteria that live inside our bodies and help to keep us healthy.

For example, our digestive system is home to a large number of bacteria. These bacteria aid in digestion by breaking down food and extracting nutrients.

Beneficial bacteria in the digestive system are mainly located in the large intestine and some parts of the small intestine. However, the stomach’s acidic environment prevents bacterial growth. Our gut houses trillions of beneficial bacteria, made up of 300 to 1,000 different species.

These bacteria serve a variety of important functions in the digestive system, including:

  • Controlling harmful bacteria to prevent disease
  • Breaking down substances that humans cannot digest
  • Producing essential vitamins such as vitamin B and vitamin K
  • Breaking down substances that the human body cannot digest, including fibre, some starches and sugars

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