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What Does A Microbiome Do

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What Is The Oral Microbiome How To Balance It To Improve Overall Health

The microbiome: How gut bacteria regulate your health | Science with Sam

By Jillian Levy, CHHC

The mouth is considered to be a major gateway to the rest of the body. Oftentimes, whats happening in the oral microbiome is representative of whats happening elsewhere in the body.

Its believed there are between 300 and 700 different microbial species living in the average humans mouth. According to an article published in the Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, the oral microbiome is the second largest microbial community in humans second to the gut, which is often simply called the microbiome.

Microbes populating the mouth play an important role in functions such as digestion, metabolism, blood pressure regulation and maintenance of the structure of the teeth.

How can you take care of the community of organisms living in your mouth? As youll learn below, practicing the right type of oral hygiene, eating a healthy diet and consuming probiotics are some of the best strategies.

Digestion And Food Breakdown

Until recently scientists believed that the human body was fully responsible for digestion of food but it turns out the bacteria in our gut plays a large role in what we are able to eat and digest. Bacterial enzymes in our gut can break down complex sugar other food molecules into fuel. These bacteria can also produce vitamins in the body, making them more essential than previously realized.

The Gut Microbiome May Affect Your Weight

There are thousands of different types of bacteria in your intestines, most of which benefit your health.

However, having too many unhealthy microbes can lead to disease.

An imbalance of healthy and unhealthy microbes is sometimes called gut dysbiosis, and it may contribute to weight gain .

Several well-known studies have shown that the gut microbiome differed completely between identical twins, one of whom was obese and one of whom was healthy. This demonstrated that differences in the microbiome were not genetic .

Interestingly, in one study, when the microbiome from the obese twin was transferred to mice, they gained more weight those that had received the microbiome of the lean twin, despite both groups eating the same diet .

These studies show that microbiome dysbiosis may play a role in weight gain.

Fortunately, probiotics are good for a healthy microbiome and can help with weight loss. Nevertheless, studies suggest that the effects of probiotics on weight loss are probably quite small, with people losing less than 2.2 pounds .


Gut dysbiosis may lead to weight gain, but probiotics can potentially restore gut health and help reduce weight.

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Try To Cut Back On The Red Meat

Aside from the fact that these days, many meat brands are known for raising their livestock with antibiotics, which is detrimental to your gut, there have been several studies that show healthier microbiomes in vegetarians. A vegetarians gut for example, will have a significantly smaller number of disease-causing bacteria that an omnivores gut. However, it is still unclear if this is due to the lack of meat being consumed, or the fact that vegetarians and plant-based individuals tend to consume a great deal more fibre than the average person.

What Is The Human Microbiome

5 Things That Will Help Keep Your Microbiome Healthy ...

Each of us has an internal complex ecosystem of bacteria located within our bodies that we call the microbiome. The microbiome is defined as as community of microbes. The vast majority of the bacterial species that make up our microbiome live in our digestive systems.

According to the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry at the University of Colorado, the human microbiota consists of the 10100 trillion symbiotic microbial cells harbored by each person, primarily bacteria in the gut. The human microbiome consists of the genes these cells harbor.

Our individual microbiomes are sometimes called our genetic footprints since they help determine our unique DNA, hereditary factors, predisposition to diseases, body type or body set point weight, and much more. The bacteria that make up our microbiomes can be found everywhere, even outside our own bodies, on nearly every surface we touch and every part of the environment we come into contact with.

The microbiome can be confusing because its different than other organs in that its not just located in one location and is not very large in size, plus it has very far-reaching roles that are tied to so many different bodily functions. Even the word microbiome tells you a lot about how it works and the importance of its roles, since micro means small and biome means a habitat of living things.

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Types Of Intestinal Bacteria

There are four main types of intestinal bacteria that live within the human gut. They are the phyla Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes, Actinobacteria and Proteobacteria.Bacteroides make up 30% of the human gut flora, suggestion they are particularly important to host health.The relationship between these bacteria and host is symbiotic.

While people can survive without gut flora, they provide many useful functions to human health. And the imbalance of any the above mentioned groups of bacteria can have a great impact on the well being of the host.

Make Sure To Eat Your Vegetables

Especially the leafy green ones! Vegetables are loaded with fibres, which cannot be digested by people but are consumed by the good bacteria in your gut. It has been observed that people who follow a diet rich with fruits and vegetables are less likely to grow disease-causing bacteria. Some great examples of vegetables that feed your microbes are:

  • Leeks
  • Artichokes

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It Affects Gut Health

The microbiome can also affect gut health and may play a role in intestinal diseases like irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease (


A healthy gut microbiome controls gut health by communicating with the intestinal cells, digesting certain foods and preventing disease-causing bacteria from sticking to the intestinal walls.

H Pylori Infection From A Germ Theory Perspective

What is the Gut Microbiome?: How you can support the beneficial bacteria aleady your gut

Pasteurs theories became embedded in the modern scientific thought of the day, and become the norm, even today. H. Pylori is one example of a bug well known to be the cause of peptic ulcers9, which according to the germ theory makes sense. In our common language we all talk about catching a cold, a virus, or a bacterial infection. Microbes and bacteria are easy to see under a microscope and because of that its very easy to believe it is true.

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Other Ways To Change Gut Bacteria

There may be other ways to change your gut microbiome and treat things tied to its balance. For example, fecal transplants change your gut bacteria to treat things like C. diff and ulcerative colitis. A device called deep transcranial magnetic stimulation uses a coil put on the scalp to stimulate the brain and change gut bacteria. It shows promise for treating obesity.

9) Jose Luis Pelaez Inc. / Thinkstock

11) AntonioGuillem / Thinkstock

12) olgakr / Thinkstock, skyjo / Thinkstock, MartinFredy / Thinkstock

UConn Today: How Bactera Keep Us Healthy.

Integrative Medicine: A Clinicians Journal: Part 1: The Human Gut Microbiome in Health and Disease.

ACP Microbe Institute: Microbe Magic, The Good Bacteria.

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Prebiotics and Probiotics: Creating a Healthier You.

Crohns & Colitis Foundation: Gut Microbiome Points To Cures and Treatment for IBD.

International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders: Gut Bacteria and IBS.

Cleveland Clinic: How Gut Bacteria May Help Curb Your Heart Disease.

University of California, Los Angeles: Changing Gut Bacteria Through Diet Affects Brain Function, UCLA Study Shows.

Journal of Neuroscience: Gut Microbes and the Brain: Paradigm Shift in Neuroscience.

Endocrine Society: Magnetic Brain Stimulation Causes Weight Loss By Making Gut Bacteria Healthier.

Mayo Clinic: What Are Probiotics?

Future Areas Of Research

The microbiome is a living dynamic environment where the relative abundance of species may fluctuate daily, weekly, and monthly depending on diet, medication, exercise, and a host of other environmental exposures. However, scientists are still in the early stages of understanding the microbiomes broad role in health and the extent of problems that can occur from an interruption in the normal interactions between the microbiome and its host.

Some current research topics:

  • How the microbiome and their metabolites influence human health and disease.
  • What factors influence the framework and balance of ones microbiome.
  • The development of probiotics as a functional food and addressing regulatory issues.

Specific areas of interest:

  • Factors that affect the microbiome of pregnant women, infants, and the pediatric population.
  • Manipulating microbes to resist disease and respond better to treatments.
  • Differences in the microbiome between healthy individuals and those with chronic disease such as diabetes, gastrointestinal diseases, obesity, cancers, and cardiovascular disease.
  • Developing diagnostic biomarkers from the microbiome to identify diseases before they develop.
  • Alteration of the microbiome through transplantation of microbes between individuals .

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Microbial Networks And Interactions

Microbial interactions visualizedthrough microbial co-occurrence networks

Microbes interact with one another, and these symbiotic interactions have diverse consequences for microbial fitness, population dynamics, and functional capacities within the microbiome. These interactions can either be between microorganisms of the same species or between different species, genera, families, and domains of life. The interactive patterns within these webs may be positive ” rel=”nofollow”> mutualism, synergism, or commensalism), negative , or neutralwhere there is no effect on the functional capacities or fitness of interacting species Microbial life strategy concepts can influence outcomes of interactions. For example, microorganisms competing for the same source can also benefit from each other when competing for the same compound at different trophic levels. Stability of a complex microbial ecosystem depends on trophic interactions for the same substrate at different concentration levels. As of 2020 microbial social adaptations in nature have been understudied. Here molecular markers can provide insight into social adaptations by supporting the theories, e.g., of altruists and cheaters in native microbiomes.

Behavioural Changes Are Likely To Be A By

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A recent paper titled ‘Why does the microbiome affect behaviour?’ examined the theory that the gut microbiome has evolved to manipulate its human host for its own success, much like parasites, by making the host more sociable in order to be transmitted.

The paper argued, however, that this theory is unlikely, and behavioural changes are likely to be a by-product of processes that help microorganisms grow and compete in the gut, such as fermentation.

“The gut microbiome is so diverse that, even if there was a type of bacteria producing active chemicals to manipulate our behaviour, this bacteria would quickly be outcompeted by other bacteria not investing any extra energy to produce the compound,” says Johnson, one of the paper’s authors.

The future

Science has not yet defined what a healthy microbiome looks like, and a conclusion appears some way off yet. But there is growing consensus that environmental factors, such as diet and antibiotics, affect our microbiome more than our genes, and that a more diverse microbiome is better for us.

“While we can change our microbiome with our diet, they seem to have a set point to which they often return after a temporary disturbance,” says Johnson. “But one thing we can do is eat more fibre, to increase the diversity of the gut, which is frequently associated with health.”

While there have been many advancements within microbiome research in recent years, there also remain some challenges.

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Can Microbes Evolve

Microbial evolution refers to the genetically driven changes that occur in microorganisms and that are retained over time. Some microbial changes can be in response to a selective pressure. … In contrast to Darwinian evolution, which takes place over millions of years, microbial evolution can occur within hours.

What Is Niehs Doing

NIEHS studies the microbiome to gain a better understanding of its complex relationships with the environment, and how these interactions may contribute to human health and disease. This knowledge could help us revolutionize the way new chemicals are tested for toxicity, and design prevention and treatment strategies for diseases that have environmental causes.

NIEHS-supported research related to the microbiome includes the environmental factors described below.

Chronic stress NIEHS researchers found chronic stress disturbs the gut microbiome in mice, triggering an immune response and promoting the development of colitis, a chronic digestive disease characterized by inflammation of the inner lining of the colon.4

Artificial sweeteners A NIEHSfunded study found sucralose, a widelyused artificial sweetener, changes the gut microbiome in mice and may increase the risk of developing chronic inflammation.5 In a separate study, they found that acesulfamepotassium, another artificial sweetener, induced weight gain in male, but not female, mice.6

Diet NIEHS researchers showed a highfat diet shaped the gut microbiome of mice in a way that predisposed them to gain weight and develop obesity.7

Caesarean delivery NIEHSfunded research indicates the way a newborn enters the world, by C-section or natural birth, and what is eaten, formula or breast milk, during the first six weeks of life may affect the type of microbes in the gut microbiome.8

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What Is The Gut Microbiome And How Does It Relate To Diabetes

The microbiome is an exciting area of research for diabetes management. What do we know and what questions do we still have about the microbiome?

Interest in the microbiome, and how much it may affect our bodies, has been on the rise. People often talk about the microbiome as it relates to the immune system, the digestive system, chronic diseases, and more. But what exactly is the microbiome and how does it relate to diabetes?

Studying The Gut Microbiota

What is the Gut Microbiome? How does it affect your health?

Twin studies have shown that, although there is a heritable component to gut microbiota, environmental factors related to diet, drugs, and anthropometric measures are larger determinants of microbiota composition.45

Gut microbes are key to many aspects of human health including immune,6 metabolic5 and neurobehavioural traits .78 Different levels of evidence support the role of gut microbiota in human health, from animal models910 and human studies.4111213

Schematic representation of the role of the gut microbiota in health and disease giving some examples of inputs and outputs. CVD=cardiovascular disease IPA=indolepropionic acid LPS=lipopolysaccharide SCFA=short chain fatty acids TMAO=trimethylamine N-oxide

Animal models can help identify gut microbes and mechanisms, though the degree to which findings translate to humans is unknown. In humans, observational studies can show cross-sectional associations between microbes and health traits but are limited by the inability to measure causal relations. The strongest level of evidence is obtained from interventional clinical studiesin particular, randomised controlled trials.

The composition of gut microbiota is commonly quantified using DNA based methods, such as next generation sequencing of 16S ribosomal RNA genes or whole genome shotgun sequencing, which also allow inference of microbiota functions.1415 Metabolic products of the microbiota are now measurable in stool and serum using metabolomic methods.16

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What Is The Gut Microbiome

Bacteria, viruses, fungi and other microscopic living things are referred to as microorganisms, or microbes, for short.

Trillions of these microbes exist mainly inside your intestines and on your skin.

Most of the microbes in your intestines are found in a pocket of your large intestine called the cecum, and they are referred to as the gut microbiome.

Although many different types of microbes live inside you, bacteria are the most studied.

In fact, there are more bacterial cells in your body than human cells. There are roughly 40 trillion bacterial cells in your body and only 30 trillion human cells. That means you are more bacteria than human .

Whats more, there are up to 1,000 species of bacteria in the human gut microbiome, and each of them plays a different role in your body. Most of them are extremely important for your health, while others may cause disease .

Altogether, these microbes may weigh as much as 25 pounds , which is roughly the weight of your brain. Together, they function as an extra organ in your body and play a huge role in your health.


The gut microbiome refers to all of the microbes in your intestines, which act as another organ thats crucial for your health.

Can Diet Affect Ones Microbiota

In addition to family genes, environment, and medication use, diet plays a large role in determining what kinds of microbiota live in the colon. All of these factors create a unique microbiome from person to person. A high-fiber diet in particular affects the type and amount of microbiota in the intestines. Dietary fiber can only be broken down and fermented by enzymes from microbiota living in the colon. Short chain fatty acids are released as a result of fermentation. This lowers the pH of the colon, which in turn determines the type of microbiota present that would survive in this acidic environment. The lower pH limits the growth of some harmful bacteria like Clostridium difficile. Growing research on SCFA explores their wide-ranging effects on health, including stimulating immune cell activity and maintaining normal blood levels of glucose and cholesterol.

Be aware that a high intake of prebiotic foods, especially if introduced suddenly, can increase gas production and bloating. Individuals with gastrointestinal sensitivities such as irritable bowel syndrome should introduce these foods in small amounts to first assess tolerance. With continued use, tolerance may improve with fewer side effects.

If one does not have food sensitivities, it is important to gradually implement a high-fiber diet because a low-fiber diet may not only reduce the amount of beneficial microbiota, but increase the growth of pathogenic bacteria that thrive in a lower acidic environment.

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