Microbe Magic

Gut Facts

The gut is an amazing place! Did you know that:

  • The human gut is home to 1-2 kg of bacteria - that is the same as 1-2 bags of sugar!

  • There are 1000 times as many bacteria in our gut than there are stars in the milky way (100 trillion vs 100 billion)

  • There are 3 times as many phage (bacterial viruses) in our gut than there are bacteria

  • There are over 400 species of bacteria in the gut

  • The surface area of your intestine is greater than that of a tennis court

  • Food takes between 24-36 hours to pass through the Gastrointestinal Tract

  • We produce between 1-1.5 litres (a large mineral bottle) of saliva in our mouths each day

  • Saliva helps us swallow our food and starts the process of digestion

  • To swallow food we use 22 muscles and we can even swallow standing on our heads

  • The stomach can hold anything from 50ml to 4 litres of liquid

  • The stomach is full of a very stong acid which would cause a serious chemical burn to the skin

  • The liver is the body's largest gland

  • Newborn babies pick up bacteria during their births, and during the first few days of their lives their gut becomes colonised by bacteria

  • 100% of people have bacteria in their guts

  • It is World Digestive Health Day on May 29th each year