“Microbiota Protects Us against the Invasion of Other Potentially Pathogenic Germs,” Expert in Food Microbiology Olena Livinska

“Microbiota Protects Us against the Invasion of Other Potentially Pathogenic Germs,” Expert in Food Microbiology Olena Livinska

What impact do microorganisms have on health and life expectancy? What has to be done in order to improve the microbiota? Is the transplantation of gut bacteria safe? Microbiologist Olena Livinska explained in the interview for Biohacking Conference Kyiv.

Olena is a research worker at Danylo Zabolotny Institute of Microbiology and Virology at the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. She has been researching the probiotic properties of lactic acid bacteria and microbiome correction issues for over 10 years. The expert founded the Microbe and I platform that regularly publishes materials taken from scientific sources and intended for practical use.

Read more about the research of the biologist and her opinion of biohacking and the improvement of the microbiome in the interview.

Interviewer: Biohacking Conference Kyiv (BCК)

Respondent: Olena Livinska (O.L.)


ВСК: Please, tell us about the project Microbe and I. How did you come up with the idea to set it up and what main goal does it serve?

O.L.: The goal of Microbe and I is to create good quality Ukrainian content and to mainstream modern practical knowledge that has scientific grounding. Besides, today Microbe and I project is one of the communication platforms for scientists and mass media.


BCК: What factors have an impact on the state of microbiota?

O.L.: There are many of them starting from the way of birth, feeding, and environment in the first years of life to the ration, use of antibiotics, habits. Even family traditions and the presence of pets are important.


ВСК: Tell us how the microbiota influences human health.

O.L.: Microbiota protects us against the invasion of other potentially pathogenic germs. It acts as a trainer for the immune system. Besides, it is involved in many processes of metabolism, from bile acid exchange and hormones to the impact on mood.

ВСК: How do pathogenic germs and opportunistic pathogens influence human health?

O.L.: They are often the reason for the development of infectious diseases. However, it partially depends on the protective capability of our own microbiota and the immune status.


ВСК: What actions should be taken to normalize the microbiota?

O.L.: Firstly, you should neutralize the negative impact of the external environment on the microbiota. This relates to the uncontrollable use of antibiotics without medical prescription, the excessive use of cleansing products, the neglect of hygiene rules – all of it may lead to food poisoning. Normalization of microbiota functions is facilitated by a healthy diet, walking in the fresh air, and hygienic household practices.


ВСК: Some biohackers turn to the transplantation of gut bacteria with an aim to normalize the microflora. How safe is that?

O.L.: Indeed, fecal microbiota transplantation is used in some severe cases connected with standalone health conditions, in which this method has proven its efficiency. However, it is a task for qualified specialists that carefully weigh the potential benefits and harm. It is important to remember that this approach is quite risky.


ВСК: How do probiotics and prebiotics influence the state of the microbiota? How useful is it to use them?

O.L.: There are different types of probiotics that have completely different effects on the body. Most of the probiotics are antagonists of pathogenic and potentially pathogenic germs. Not all probiotic microorganisms survive in the human intestinal tract. In addition, prebiotics nourish our microbiota and encourage the growth of “good” bacteria.


ВСК: What will you speak about at Biohacking Conference Kyiv?

O.L.: My report will focus on new efficient methods intended to improve the functioning of microbiota, as well as how to protect it against unwanted effects. Besides, I will explain how one can “advance” the microbiota, and what methods one should not use.

Olena will make a presentation at Biohacking Conference Kyiv on March 26. Her report’s title is “Microbiome: the rules of safe biohacking”.


Attendees will have the possibility to talk to the microbiologist and ask her questions.

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