Microbiota. What bacteria live in the intestines of Russians

    In the first article , Atlas and I talked about what the intestinal microbiota is, how the colon works, where bacteria come from and why we need them. And this time we share what kind of bacteria live in the intestines of Russians according to the statistics of our users, what they eat there and what functions they perform.

    Illustration by Rentonorama

    What are bacterial genera and how do they relate to each other?

    Just as the entire population of the Earth can be divided into countries and populations, all intestinal bacteria can be divided into families and genera. A family of bacteria combines genera similar in structure, but different in function. And departments unite different families.

    Most bacterial genera of microbiota belong to two departments: Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes. In the first section, the genera Bacteroides and Prevotella are most common, and in the second, Faecalibacterium, Ruminococcus, Eubacterium, Blautia, Roseburia, Coprococcus. There is still a genus of bacteria Akkermansia, the presence of which is considered a marker of health. In the human intestines, this is the only representative of the Verrucomicrobia department.

    A number of studies mention the relationship of Bacteroidetes to Firmicutes. In some works, it is noted that Firmicutes are more common for full people, while in others it is vice versa. In fact, everything is more confusing. The bacterial genus Bacteroides is associated with a Western diet, which is more likely to promote weight gain, and Firmicutes are the main producers of energy-intensive substances that help our body stay healthy. Therefore, it remains unclear why the prevalence of Firmicutes according to research results may be a sign of obesity.

    Below we give the average statistics for users of the Atlas Microbiota Genetics test. Note that most of the samples come to us from Moscow, so this ratio is typical for residents of large cities.


    The main role of Bacteroides is to break down and help a person absorb fiber. As we said in the first article, a person simply does not have genes that encode information on the breakdown of complex carbohydrates (except for starch and glycogen). We get this ability due to the bacterial genome.

    Bacteroides are able to recognize and process more than a dozen fibers, and some species contain more than 260 genes for their metabolism. They also process sugars and proteins, so a large representation of this kind is associated with a Western diet rich in meat and sweet dishes.

    Bacteroides care not only about their master, but also help their neighbors. They create a beneficial environment for other beneficial gut bacteria. For example, Bacteroides lower oxygen levels, which allows anaerobic births to grow.

    A high value is considered to be 13.78%


    The genera Prevotella and Bacteroides belong to the same department, however, the presence of Prevotella is associated with a plant diet and is more common among the tribes of Africa and the Amazon, to which the Western diet has not reached. In Western countries, the predominance of Prevotella is found among vegetarians and adherents of the Mediterranean diet. At the same time, this genus is associated with a high content of not only complex carbohydrates, but also simple sugars. Therefore, the number of Prevotella is often higher in sweet tooth.

    Those with a higher Prevotella presence than Bacteroides are a bit more fortunate. StudyGothenburg University of Sweden has shown that an increased number of Prevotella in the microbiota normalizes glucose metabolism. In mice with the microbiota of people from the study, there was an increased glycogen content in the liver. This means that the hormone insulin in mice with such a microbiota does its job correctly and transfers incoming glucose to the liver, where it is stored in the form of glycogen.

    When insulin cannot tolerate glucose, resistance develops and the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes increases. Researchers note that a high-fiber diet may be the cause of high Prevotella levels.

    A high value is considered 16.87%


    Faecalibacterium is a major producer of butyric acid. This short-chain fatty acid makes up 90% of the nutrition of the cells lining the intestinal wall. When it is missing, the cells perform their functions worse or die off altogether, which reduces the body's immune response and increases the risk of inflammation. Therefore, Faecalibacterium is considered a marker of health: the more of them, the better.

    Faecalibacterium produce butyric acid by breaking down complex carbohydrates. Therefore, this kind is more among lovers of vegetables, fruits and cereals.

    This type of bacteria is also associated with satisfaction with the quality of life. This conclusion was made by scientists from Belgium and the Netherlands. They ratedthe composition of the microbiota and asked the participants to fill out a questionnaire about the general perception of health, limitations related to physical or emotional problems, emotional well-being, physical pain, fatigue or the presence of strength. Researchers noted that many criteria related to quality of life satisfaction were positively correlated with the high representation of Faecalibacterium and Coprococcus. We will talk about the second kind below.

    A high value is considered to be 11.64%


    Ruminococcus - lovers of sustainable starch, which is found in green bananas, lentils, green peas, white beans, cooled pasta and potatoes. Unlike simple starch, resistant does not break down to simple sugars and is not digested by the body, and therefore it reaches the whole microbiota. Also, Ruminococcus is a genus of bacteria that is able to process cellulose, although most of it remains undigested and helps to form fecal masses that pass through the intestines faster and have less contact with the walls.

    The relationship between Ruminococcus and the development of ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease is being actively studied. Several studies have shown that in patients with intestinal inflammation, the presence of a certain type of Ruminococcus is higher.

    High value is considered3,7%


    Eubacterium, like Faecalibacterium, synthesize a large part of butyric acid when cleaving fiber. The number of Eubacterium increases with the addition of whole grains and brown rice to the diet and decreases when fiber in the diet becomes low. Eubacterium turns lactate in the gut into butyric acid, which reduces acidity and helps stabilize microbiota.

    Interestingly, scientists compared the microbiota of young people of 70 years old and centenarians who lived more than 100 years. It turned out that the microbiota of young and 70-year-olds is practically the same, and in long-livers there was a slight chronic inflammageing. Scientists have even discovered a bacterium characteristic of such people - Eubacterium limosum. In them, the number of this bacterium was increased by more than 10 times.

    A high value is considered 3.25%


    During the breakdown of complex carbohydrates, Blautia produces acetate, which, like butyric acid, is a short chain fatty acid. It is absorbed by intestinal cells, passes the blood-brain barrier and enters the brain.

    Acetate is an important source of nutrition for glia cells that surround neurons and provide reliable transmission of impulses between them. According to a study from the journal Nature, with heavy fiber intake, acetate triggers an appetite suppressing signal in the hypothalamus. This work sheds a little light on how a fiber-rich diet protects people from obesity.

    Despite the pros, the increased representation of Blautia is associatedwith type 2 diabetes. This was found by comparing the microbiota of three groups: patients with diabetes, prediabetes and healthy people with normal glucose metabolism. 2.23%

    is considered a high value.


    Roseburia breaks down plant mannans. These substances are found in nuts, legumes, coconuts, tomatoes, coffee beans, and they are also widely used in the food industry as thickeners and gelling agents. Mannans can increase in volume up to 200 times, which reduces appetite and gives a feeling of satiety.

    Several studies have shown that Roseburia plays an important role in controlling inflammatory processes in the intestines, protecting against atherosclerosis, and in the body's immune responses. Scientists suggest that mainly these processes occur due to the synthesis of butyric acid with the use of a sufficient amount of fiber. The study showed that those mice that have a lot of Roseburia in their microbiome but don’t get enough fiber are not protected against atherosclerosis.

    Reduced Roseburia is seen in people with inflammatory diseases and colorectal cancer.

    A high value is considered 3.5%


    The same genus, which together with Faecalibacterium is associated with satisfaction with the quality of life. In addition, it was found that Coprococcus are associated with the development of depression. According to a study from the journal Nature, the microbiota of patients with depression contains less Coprococcus and bacteria of the genus Dialister.

    Coprococcus, like many other genera of the Firmicutes department, break down different types of fibers and produce butyric acid. Another representation of Coprococcus is associated with a low body mass index and a high diversity of microbiota. 2.74%

    is considered a high value.

    Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus

    These births begin to inhabit our body from childhood, as they are found in breast milk. Relative to other genera of Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus, an adult has a little, and sometimes not at all, but this does not mean that they are useless. Even if these bacteria cannot settle in your microbiota and simply pass through the gastrointestinal tract, they still interact with other bacteria and are beneficial. However, those who are represented in the microbiota were a little luckier.

    Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus are probiotic bacteria. They are able to inhibit the growth of pathogenic bacteria, strengthen the protective function of the intestinal walls and suppress pro-inflammatory cytokines. Lactobacillus, like Coprococcus, is associated with low weight, and Bifidobacterium protects the intestines from inflammatory diseases and colorectal cancer. Still Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus synthesize gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). This neurotransmitter is responsible for attention, emotional and motor control. The relationship between taking probiotics with Lactobacillus and a decrease in symptoms of depression and anxiety is being actively studied.

    Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus are found in fermented foods, such as kefir or sourdough bread, kombucha, sauerkraut. Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus microbiota feed on galactooligosaccharides, which are found in Jerusalem artichoke, soy, garlic, tomatoes, onions, bananas, apples, asparagus and honey. A study in people with lactose intolerance has shown that this type of fiber helps these probiotic species grow.

    High Bifidobacterium is 0.5%.
    High Lactobacillus is 0.16%.


    A large representation of this bacterium is considered a marker of human health, since a small percentage of Akkermansia often accompanies type 2 diabetes, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. A large percentage of this bacterium is associated with low weight and body mass index, as well as low cholesterol and fasting glucose.

    Unlike other genera, Akkermansia feeds on the intestinal mucosa - mucin, therefore, during periods of fasting, when other bacteria do not receive enough substances, its number increases significantly.

    The bacterium not only consumes mucin, but also helps to produce it. Scientists suggest that Akkermansia synthesizes the fatty acids that feed the intestinal mucosal producer cells. A  studyusing intestinal epithelial cells showed that Akkermansia adheres to the cells and strengthens the defense, but does not destroy them, causing inflammation.

    A high value is considered 0.23%


    If you have chosen a bacterium and want to tackle its growth, we are in a hurry to upset you. A healthy microbiota is characterized by a wide variety of different types of bacteria, because it inhibits the growth of opportunistic species, synthesizes a sufficient amount of fatty acids and protects against inflammation. In addition, if there is no certain kind in the microbiota, then it is unlikely to settle it with a diet. You can get a new genus only through a microbiota transplant, but in this case, the composition of bacteria will completely change to the composition of the donor.

    In the test “Genetics of Microbiota”, we examine what kind of bacteria you have less in comparison with the average indicators of healthy people in the population, and give recommendations on products that can increase the number of certain bacteria.

    In the next article, we will describe how microbiota affects the development of diseases.

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