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Understanding The Microbiome

You are Covered in Bacteria.

There are trillions of bacteria living within and on you. Don’t panic. These bacteria are referred to as your microbiome and you need them to live a healthy life.

According to Webster’s Dictionary, “micro” is an adjective that describes something as very small. “Biome,” a noun, is a major ecological community type. While this word may sound like a massive contradiction, it points to what the microbiome actually is – a massive community of microorganisms that inhabit an environment. In our case, the human microbiome is a massive community of microorganisms that inhabit your body.

Many people think of the microbiome as just being related to your intestines, but that’s not the case. Your microbiome isn’t just limited to your gut. There are also specific microbiomes associated with the mouth, skin, vagina, and placenta. Each of these microbiomes serve a specific purpose in providing balance to their specific location. Curious to know more? Check out Your Many Microbiomes for a deeper dive into these specific microbiomes.

Think You’re Complex? Think Again.

This massive community of microorganisms – your microbiome –  is incredibly complex. When you layer on the fact that the microbiome can be influenced by a variety of external factors such as aging, dietary habits, medications, disease, the environment, and stress, you can start to see why it’s important to maintain some balance in the widespread and powerful microbiome system.

Friends Forever

You and your microbiome need each other. Over the course of human evolution, there has been a partnership with the bacteria that live in and on our bodies. In addition to the many benefits already associated with a balanced microbiome, such as healthy immune function as well as digestive, oral, urogenital and heart health, emerging research suggests the microbiome may even influence blood sugar control, weight management, and mental health.12345

We know that a balanced microbiome has many benefits, but our knowledge of this incredible and complex system is evolving every day.

 

 

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3 John GK, Wang L, Nanavati J, Twose C, Singh R, Mullin G. Dietary Alteration of the Gut Microbiome and Its Impact on Weight and Fat Mass: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Genes (Basel). 2018 Mar 16;9(3).
4 Ettinger G, MacDonald K, Reid G, Burton JP. The influence of the human microbiome and probiotics on cardiovascular health.  Gut Microbes. 2014;5(6):719-728.
5 Lloyd-Price, J, Abu-Ali, G, Huttenhower, C.  The healthy human microbiome. Genome Medicine2016, 8:51