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Microbiota, secret weapon of the immune system , was released on February 25th , the first book by Maria Rescigno , an expert in microbiota and an Italian scientist who is also known internationally.
A text that collects her decades of experience as a researcher on the functioning of the microbiota and the effects it has on the immune system , retracing the history of scientific discoveries up to the most recent ones.
This powerful ally of our health is in fact still at the center of the debate in the science of nutrition and beyond, and if much has been done, much remains to be discovered.
What is the “microbiota” and why is it important for our body?
The microbiota is the set of all microorganisms that live in our body and that are present on all surfaces exposed to the outside world. It is mainly present in the intestine , where we offer him room and board and he returns us with artifacts, called postbiotics , which are fundamental for our well-being.
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In the book he talks about benefits for the immune system and for psychophysical well-being. Can you give us some examples?
The microbiota is made up of more inflammatory (the ‘bad’) and other more anti-inflammatory (the ‘good’) microorganisms. We need both. The former train the immune system to fight any pathogens , the latter instead extinguish possible inflammation .
But to feel good, the two groups must be in balance with each other. The microbiota can also influence our mood .
What are the most significant foods? You talk about fermented foods: what are they?
We need to have a varied diet because when we feed, we also feed our microbiota. So the more varied we eat, the more we create diversity of the microbiota. Diversity allows the microbiota to adapt to even less favorable conditions. Fermented foods are foods that result from fermentation by microgranisms, for example yogurt , kefir , miso .
They allow us to integrate our microbiota with ‘good’ strains and to supply us with so-called artifacts or postbiotics which are then the mediators of the actions I have reported above.
You have devoted a large part of your career to the microbiota. Where does this choice come from?
It comes from the desire to understand why we live with all these microorganisms on a daily basis. Why should we carry around 5 times more cells with us every day than human cells? It has been seen that the microbiota increases the human genome by about 100 times and many functions of our organism are performed by the products of this genome. For example, many enzymes involved in the digestion of complex molecules are provided by the microbiota.
And how has interest in this topic changed over time?
When I started working on it, nobody did. Now, however, it has been seen that the microbiota affects almost every function of our organism, even anticancer therapies are more effective in the presence of a certain composition of the microbiota. Each branch of medicine will have to deal with the microbiota.