Bacteria in the Digestive System

Bacteria are present everywhere around us, including inside our 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 that aid in the process of digestion by breaking down the food we eat and extracting nutrients from it.

Useful bacteria that live in the digestive system are mainly found in the large intestine and part of the small intestine. However, there is no bacterial growth in the stomach, as they cannot survive the acidic environment. Our gut is home to trillions of useful bacteria, containing around 300 to 1000 different species.

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

  • Controlling the growth of harmful bacteria to prevent them from multiplying and causing 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, and some starches and sugars