Microbiota & pre/probiotics

The Microbiota

A microbiota is the set of microorganisms – bacteria, viruses, parasites and non-pathogenic fungi, known as commensals – that live in a specific environment. In the body, there are different microbiotas: at the level of the skin, the mouth, the vagina, the lungs… The intestinal microbiota is the most “populated” of them, sheltering 1012 to 1014 micro-organisms.

It is mainly located in the small intestine and the colon, distributed between the lumen of the digestive tract and the protective biofilm formed by the intestinal mucus which covers its inner wall. Gastric acidity not being favorable to the presence of most micro-organisms, the stomach harbors a hundred million times less commensal bacteria than the colon.

The role of the intestinal microbiota on our health is increasingly well known and recognized. We now know that it plays a role in digestive, metabolic, immune and neurological functions. Consequently, dysbiosis, that is to say the qualitative and/or functional alteration of the intestinal microbiota, is a serious avenue for explaining certain diseases, in particular among those underpinned by autoimmune or inflammatory mechanisms. This theme has become central to biological and medical research.


The term probiotic covers all the living microorganisms which develop within the intestinal flora and the intimate microflora, that is to say in the small intestine, the colon and the vagina. These are good bacteria belonging to the group of lactic ferments (lactobacilli, bifidobacteria, lactococci, etc.) and beneficial yeasts, also called saccharomyces.They are identified by their Latin name: S. Boulardii, Lactobacillus Rhamnosus GG, Bifidobacterium Longum, Streptococcus Thermophilus, etc.

Their main actions are to support the immune system by forming a natural defense barrier against pathogens causing diseases (viruses, microbes, allergens) as well as to promote the smooth running of digestion by optimizing the absorption of nutrients in the intestinal mucosa. The best sources of natural probiotics are foods rich in lactic ferments: yoghurts, cheeses, lacto-fermented vegetables (sauerkraut, miso), fermented drinks (kombucha, kefir, unpasteurized beer) as well as products involving a fermentation reaction (bread sourdough, pickles, olives, etc.).


Prebiotics are nutrients that have a positive effect on the gut microbiome. These are fibers that feed and strengthen specific strains of bacteria (probiotics), such as bifidus or lactobacilli, which are good intestinal bacteria. This helps prevent the excessive spread of harmful bacterial cultures, which can also colonize the gut.Good food sources of prebiotics include cereals, asparagus, artichokes, bananas, apples, berries, prunes, flax seeds, Chia seeds, onions, garlic, leeks , legumes, whole grains, tiger nuts…