How To Help Your Microbiome
Simple daily habits make a difference. What you eat can change the microbes that live in your body. High-fiber foods feed the helpful bacteria in your colon. They also discourage the growth of some harmful ones. Probiotic foods, such as yogurt and pickled vegetables, also deliver helpful bacteria to your gut. Getting enough sleep, easing stress, and exercising may also improve your microbiome.
What Does Our Microbiome Do
Lots. The gut microbiome controls the storage of fat and assists in activating the genes in human cells involved with absorbing nutrients, breaking down toxins and creating blood vessels.
These helpful microorganisms replenish the linings of the gut and skin, replacing damaged and dying cells with new ones. Equally vital is their role in preventing illness.
Our native microbes compete with invading ones, preventing them from getting a foothold. Were born with an immune defence system only partially formed.
Its the interaction with microbes that shapes it, influencing the classes of immune cells that are generated and the development of the organs that make and store them.
Why Is The Microbiome Important
Antibiotics and an obsession to sterilize our environments have resulted in a significant rise in gut-related illnesses and pressure on the medical community to finally explore this long-ignored aspect of human biology.
Research has uncovered an intricate web connecting our gut flora to virtually every process in our body. As such, imbalances in our microbial communities have been implicated in countless health issues, including immune health, psychological well-being, and some of the deepest chronic health issues of our times.
In fact, research surrounding one such connection, coined the gut-brain axis, has the potential to revolutionize the way psychologists worldwide support mental and emotional well being.
Techniques and methods on how to manipulate ones microbiome have begun to flood medical literature. Trading gut bacteria has become the latest focus for therapeutic treatments, being successfully utilized as a means to treat antibiotic resistant infections such as C. difficile, and going so far as to be considered as a potential means of treating obesity.
Studies on the human microbiome have been hailed as the new frontier of medicine as researchers such as Martin Blaser, professor of microbiology at the New York University School of Medicine and founder of the Foundation for Bacteriology, advocate good bacteria as the new antibiotics.
Its time we cultivated a friendship with our microbiome.
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It May Help Control Blood Sugar And Lower The Risk Of Diabetes
The gut microbiome also may help control blood sugar, which could affect the risk of type 1 and 2 diabetes.
One recent study examined 33 infants who had a genetically high risk of developing type 1 diabetes.
It found that the diversity of the microbiome dropped suddenly before the onset of type 1 diabetes. It also found that levels of a number of unhealthy bacterial species increased just before the onset of type 1 diabetes .
Another study found that even when people ate the exact same foods, their blood sugar could vary greatly. This may be due to the types of bacteria in their guts .
The gut microbiome plays a role in controlling blood sugar and may also affect the onset of type 1 diabetes in children.
Why The Gut Microbiome Is Crucial For Your Health
Your body is full of trillions of bacteria, viruses and fungi. They are collectively known as the microbiome.
While some bacteria are associated with disease, others are actually extremely important for your immune system, heart, weight and many other aspects of health.
This article serves as a guide to the gut microbiome and explains why its so important for your health.
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How Safe Are Probiotics
Because microbes used as probiotics already exist naturally in your body, probiotic foods and supplements are generally considered safe. They may trigger allergic reactions, and may also cause mild stomach upset, diarrhea, or flatulence and bloating for the first few days after starting to take them.
There are certain people who need to use caution when using probiotic supplements. There is a risk of infection in some people. These people include those who have:
- A weakened immune system .
- A critical illness.
Caution should also be used when giving probiotics to very sick infants.
Always talk to your healthcare provider before starting a probiotic supplement.
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.
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What Makes A Healthy Microbiome
How do you know if a microbiome is in disarray? Is a gut without a particular species unhealthy? And in comparison to what?
Defining what is normal or healthy for a human microbiome is important, and this may differ widely between countries, regions, communities, cities, and whether someone is young or old, rich or poor, outgoing or solitary.
This is a further challenge to the dream of personalised medicines for everyone, but in the meantime here are some tips to improve your gut microbiome.
- This article first appeared in issue 303 of BBC Focus find out how to subscribe here
Antibiotic This is a medicine that inhibits the growth of, or destroys, microorganisms. The antibiotics are actually produced by bacteria themselves as a form of survival .
Dysbiosis This is a disruption to the harmony of symbiosis, where the microbial community shifts in a way that harms its host. The phrase is often applied to the human gut microbiome, where it describes a condition caused by too few beneficial bacteria and an overgrowth of bad bacteria, yeast, and/or parasites.
Microbe Single-celled organisms so tiny that millions can fit into the eye of a needle.
Microbiota Microbiota refers to a set of microscopic organisms. Microbiome originally referred to their genomes all the DNA of these organisms but is now sometimes used in place of microbiota
Probiotic A substance that stimulates the growth of microorganisms.
The Gut Microbiome And Its Multifarious Functions
The symbiotic relationship between the gut microbiota and the host is regulated and stabilized by a complex network of interactions that encompass metabolic, immune, and neuroendocrine crosstalk between them. This crosstalk is potentially mediated by microbial-synthesized metabolites which exhibit pleiotropic effects, including acting as signaling molecules in regulating host neuro-immune-inflammatory axes that could physiologically link gut with other organ systems. The predominant functions of gut microbiota and the associated key metabolites in governing host wellness are depicted in the following subsections, with some other microbial metabolites being described in Table 1.
TABLE 1. Metabolites contributed by gut microbiota and their respective functions.
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As Ed Yong says in his book I Contain Multitudes, The immune system is not innately hardwired to tell the difference between a harmless symbiont and a threatening pathogen its the microbe that makes that distinction clear.
The human microbiome even affects how we smell. Different microbe species might convert sweat into the smell of onions, or testosterone into the stink of urine, which act as strong signals for our friends and foes.
These smells are highly personal: studies have found people can be identified just from their sweaty T-shirts.
Scientists also think that our microbiome may be a significant contributor to why we get jetlag.
The change in sleep patterns puts the rhythm of our gut bacteria out of sync with our own behaviour, so different species are active at the wrong times.
Read more about the body and microbiome:
Human Microbiota And Human Microbiome
Human microbiota is a community of microbes residing in and on the human body. It consists of the 10-100 trillion symbiotic microbial cells harboured by each person, primarily bacteria in the gut. It refers to the entire population of microorganisms that colonizes a particular location and includes not just bacteria, but also other microbes such as fungi, archaea, viruses, and protozoans.
- The human microbiome is genes carried in that microbiota.
- The gut microbiota has even been considered to be an essential organ carrying approximately 150 times more genes that are found in the entire human genome.
Development of Microbiome
The relation between the gut microbiota and human health is being increasingly recognized. It is now well established that a healthy gut flora is largely responsible for the overall health of the host. The normal human gut microbiota comprises of two major phyla, namely Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes. Though the gut microbiota in an infant appears haphazard, it starts resembling the adult flora by the age of 3 years. There exist temporal and spatial variations in the microbial distribution from the oesophagus to the rectum all along the individuals lifespan. Developments in genome sequencing technologies and bioinformatics have now enabled scientists to study these microorganisms and their function and microbe-host interactions in an elaborate manner both in health and disease states.
Functions of the gut microbiome
- host nutrient metabolism,
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The Role Of The Human Microbiota
Most members of the human microbiota benefit humans by providing them with traits that they would not otherwise possess. Some microorganisms found in the human gut, for instance, obtain nutrients from ingested food in return for assisting with the breakdown of food or preventing the colonization of the gut by harmful bacteria. There are, however, many microorganisms in the human microbiota that are closely related to pathogenic organisms or are themselves capable of becoming pathogenic. Examples include bacterial species of the genera Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, Enterococcus, Klebsiella, Enterobacter, and Neisseria.
Scientists studying obesity have detected an increased abundance of Prevotella and Firmicutes bacteria and of methanogenic archaea in obese individuals relative to normal-weight persons and persons who have undergone gastric bypass surgery. Scientists suspect that these microorganisms are more efficient at harvesting carbohydrates from food than are the types of microorganisms that dominate the gut flora of normal-weight individuals. The extra nutrients are then stored in the body as fat.
The Human Microbiome Project: Extending The Definition Of What Constitutes A Human
One of the surprises of the Human Genome Project
The microbiome is defined as the collective genomes of the microbes that live inside and on the human body. We have about 10 times as many microbial cells as human cells. So, to study the human as a “supraorganism,” composed of both non-human and human cells, in 2007 the National Institutes of Health launched the Human Microbiome Project as a conceptual extension of the Human Genome Project.
Though PubMed includes more than 200 HMP papers to date, this month the HMP Consortium coordinated the publication of two major scientific reports in Nature and a set of 14 Public Library of Science companion papers to report on the research over the past five years.
The results reported in the Nature papers are a subset of a larger cohort study of the microbiomes of 300 healthy adult men and women in the United States from 18 to 40 years of age. The data in these papers came from an analysis of 4,788 clinical specimens from 242 healthy adults: 129 males and 113 females. Male volunteers were sampled at 15 sites and females at 18 sites from the mouth, nose, skin, lower gastrointestinal tract and vagina. Of these individuals, 131 were sampled again approximately 200 days later to assess the stability of their microbiomes. None of these subjects were taking antibiotics or immunomodulators during the study and all subjects were clinically verified to be free of overt disease at all of the body sites before sampling.
Posted: July 16, 2012
What Is The Human Microbiome
The human microbiome is a remarkable ecosystem of largely good bacteria and microbes that live on and in the human body. These micro organisms are believed to influence everything from our weight, our immune health, our susceptibility to disease and even our mood.
Our bodies are home to between 40 and 100 trillion microbes according to current estimates weighing as much as 2 kg . Most live in our intestine and make up what is know as our gut microbiome.
Many scientists believe we have more of these microbes within us than we have our own cells by as much as 10 to 1. The vast majority of these microbes are considered to be commensal or friendly and we depend on them for our health just as much as they do us.
Scientists have only recently begun to appreciate the importance of these microbes for our health possibly one of the most significant discoveries in human biology this century.Thanks to advances in genetics, supercomputing and AI in recent years Scientists are now able to discover a lot more about these microbes that live in and on us.
Acquisition Of New Strains
When your body encounters unfamiliar microbes in an environment, it may acquire those new strains of microorganisms. Over time, these acquisitions increase your microbial gene pool and alter the composition of your hologenome.
Conversely, the loss of gut microbial species, a phenomenon happening at an unprecedented rate due to Western dietary and lifestyle habits, harms host fitness and that of future generations.
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Classification Of The Human Microbiome
The term flora is misused because bacteria have nothing to do with plants. It is better to talk about bacterial populations divided into ecosystems depending on their functions .
These populations in general make up a microbiome that falls into two categories:
- Autochthonous microbiome : it is made up of microorganisms that live in our body for an indefinite or prolonged period of time. They participate in physiological processes. They have evolved with our species to adapt to the environment we offer them.
- Allochthonous microbiome : it is made up of microorganisms that can be found in every environment and that appear in our body either temporarily or accidentally. They do not participate in physiological processes and their relationship with humans is temporary.
You can also classify based on the time the microorganisms stay in our body:
- Permanent microbiome : This is the total number of microorganisms that are present in the hosts body during its lifetime. Populations do not fluctuate much, remain constant, and function in complete symbiosis.
- Transitional microbiome : these are bacterial populations that fluctuate. They are not essential to the functioning of the host. Factors such as season, age and medications can change them.
So the bacteria in our gut are an example of an indigenous solid microbiome. They are necessary for the proper functioning of the digestive system and remain with us throughout our lives.
How Does Microbiome Analysis Work
Explore your gut bacteria and their functions with microbiome test. It can give you real insight into the unique ecosystem of your gut.
The Atlas Microbiome Test uses advanced DNA sequencing technology to screen the genes of your gut microbes and determine what bacteria are inside you and what they’re doing. Just order the test online, collect a tiny stool sample, and send it back. Here’s what you can learn from it:
- See how well your gut microbes protect you from disease
- Find out how your diet is affecting your gut microbes
- Discover your gut microbes ability to make vitamins
- Get personalised food recommendations based on your results
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How To Improve The Gut Microbiome
Fortunately, you can improve the composition and diversity of your gut microbiome by making changes in your diet.
Consuming a varied and diverse diet is important for maintaining a healthy gut microbiome .
A study comparing the diets and gut microbiomes in people from Europe and rural regions of Africawhere a more diverse and predominantly plant-based diet is consumedfound a significant difference in the gut microbiome. People from Africa had greater diversity of microbes and less harmful bacteria in their guts compared with Europeans .
In particular, you want to focus on consuming high-fiber foods.
What Does The Microbiome Do
The microbiome plays a key role is some very important bodily functions. It assists with immune system regulation, mental health and digestion. Though we are only at the beginning of understanding what other roles the microbiome plays in the body, scientists are clear that it does affect the following systems.
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Are There Any Storage Instructions For Probiotics
Several probiotic strains are very fragile and need to be protected from heat, oxygen, light and humidity. The probiotics might start to break down or die if they are exposed to these elements. Because of this, you may need to refrigerate your probiotics or store it in a particular place. Refrigerating certain probiotic strains ensures that theyre still viable when you go to use them and will still provide the full benefit of the probiotic. Always read the labels on any probiotic product you purchase to make sure you store it correctly and use it within the expiration date.