Microbiome 101

Your gut starts at your lips and ends at … your end. The gut is where your body interacts the most with the outside world. It is the frontline of your immune system. It is impacted by all you eat, drink, breathe, and come into contact with. Around 100 trillion bacteria cells and other microorganisms including fungi and viruses live in your gastrointestinal tract. Your gut is only as healthy as your microbiome is. You’re only as healthy as your gut is. Your skin has its own unique microbiome as well. So does your environment. The balance and health of those will impact your gut microbiome and overall balance and health as well.

All the microbes that live on and in your body make up your unique microbiota. It’s as unique as your fingerprint. The genes within those microbes make up your microbiome. The types and balance of the microbes of your body can be determined by what you’re exposed to including diet, stress, air, water, products, geography, age, gender, and all you come in contact with. They are in constant flux.

Older understanding of the microbiome included the germ theory and focus was on negative impact of pathogenic microbes. Some believe we need to identify and destroy anything we deem as a foreign invader, as it is directly responsible for causing disease.

More recent studies and understanding include terrain theory which is that the germ doesn’t necessarily determine the disease, but that it is more-so determined by the terrain, or condition of our internal health and its ability to maintain homeostasis in the face of pathogenic invaders. Imbalance of our microbiome can determine our ability to respond well to pathogenic microbes.

The microbiome of your body acts almost as its own organ and impacts your entire body including, immune function, digestion, mood, aging, and cognitive function. A strong and balanced microbiome is critical to health and the ability to fight invaders.

We can encourage and promote a healthy balance of microbes in, on, and around us with some daily changes and choices. Swipe for some ideas and some research on this topic.

Do what you can, with what you’re able, and as it makes sense for you.