The microbiome is the collection of all microbes, such as bacteria, fungi, viruses, and their genes, that naturally live on our bodies and inside us. Although microbes are so small that they require a
THE 27th of June is World Microbiome Day – there is no wonder it was dedicated a whole day, the microbiome literally rules our health. What is it? The collection of all the bacteria and other microscopic creatures that live within and on our body, outnumbering our human cells ten to one, adding over 8 million genes to our set of 22000. These microbes normally live in synergy with us – the right types and the right diversity keep us healthy – if we keep them happy.
When you hear the word, microbiome” you might immediately think about probiotics – and although the word is used often interchangeably they mean different things. The word "Probiotic" simply means “for life”. A probiotic is an organism (bacteria or yeast) which have been found in clinical studies to contribute to the health and balance of the intestinal tract and via the gut they influence each and every organ and cell. The microbiome is the sum of all microscopic organisms – good and not so good or opportunistic creatures, which is unique to you. The health of this mass can be manipulated by diet, lifestyle, medications and probiotic foods / supplements.
Why should you bother? Growing evidence shows that the right balance and diversity of microbes – especially in the gut, are crucial for your overall health. Your digestive tract is your first line of defence against invaders, it is here where your immune system is regulated, of which over 70% is located there. Probiotics may help your digestion and nutrient absorption and also help make and activate vitamins needed by your body, such as Vitamin K2, B complex, and produce substances that can lower cholesterol, inflammation and benefit weight control and even mental wellbeing.
You store a little sample of our own variety in our appendix covered with a bio-film. This is where they can re-colonize our system after diarrhea or treatment by medications. It takes time, however, and in the meantime pathogens (the bad ones) can overpopulate the intestines, weakening the immune system, causing digestive problems, nutrient deficiencies, mood disorders and even skin disease. Your colon can maintain its health with 15% unfriendly bacteria, if the body contains at least 85% probiotic friendly bacteria. Most people have this percentage reversed.
You need to top up your digestive tract regularly with a variety of natural probiotic sources, such as organic, natural yoghurts, sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, kombucha, miso and tempeh. These mighty warriors are fighting for your health, so keep them happy, nourish them with prebiotic fiber containing foods: a great variety of plants, especially Jerusalem artichokes, onions, garlic and legumes (beans, lentils), colourful vegetables, herbs and spices. During antibiotic or other medicinal treatments you need to re-populate the intestines with a diverse probiotic supplement - starting on the same day, two hours after each dose. If there is a long-standing imbalance and there are digestive or immune problems prevalent, you are better off finding and addressing the source of the problem, which, as Hipporcrates stated, most likely lies in the gut.
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