It is definitely not new but it has become the new topic of discussion regarding gut and immune health.
The definition (simplified) from Wikipedia says it best: “The human microbiome (or human microbiota) is the collection of microorganisms which live on us. They live on the skin, in the saliva and mouth, in the eyes, and in the gut and the rest of the gastrointestinal tract.
Everyone carries around far more of these microbes than the number of human cells in the body.” With that understanding, why all the talk about microbiomes and microbiota? It all sounds so sci fi!
Your body needs a lot of these little micro things to keep the body running and most of them are really good for you however, when the bad bacteria start to outweigh the good, it has a negative impact on health. Not surprising, most of the bad bacteria is coming from bad gut stuff. Let’s take the science one step further to understand that good and bad gut health affect not only digestion but also mood and immune.
How do Microbiomes affect the gut?
With a bit more understanding of microbiomes and knowing that there are trillions of these things, the pursuit of science and the use of probiotics relates more to gut health because the largest collection of the bacterium resides in the gut.
Gut microbes (the new buzz word) have many functions in your body.
- They help to break down and assimilate the nutrients from your food for your body to function. Think about it…your body consumes a carrot, it needs some powerful stuff (gut microbes) to break it down into really small particles so your gut can deliver the nutrients from the carrot to your body.
- If your gut has more bad gut microbes than good ones, the process is broken and you do not get the nutrients you need.
- Luckily, probiotics come to the rescue and fix the problem.
- Gut microbes also strengthen your immune system. Remember that your gut produces immune cells and if the environment that these cells are dumped into is unhealthy (unhealthy gut filled with bad bacteria), your immune system will suffer.
- In general, an imbalanced gut microbiota makes you more susceptible to infections, immune disorders, and inflammation all of which are tied to a number of health conditions.
The moral of the story is to keep you gut microbiomes healthy with probiotic supplements and probiotic foods (fermented foods).