The Microbiome is a term for all of the other organisms (bacteria, fungi, viruses) that live in or on our bodies. Just as the cells in our body for a unified ecosystem where all parts work for the benefit of the whole, so to the Microbiome is an additional part of this unified ecosystem where there is a symbiotic relationship between the resident organisms and our bodies. A healthy body promotes a healthy Microbiome and a healthy Microbiome promotes a healthy body. While one may speak about the Microbiome as a single entity, its makeup and diversity varies by region of the body. The varying regions include the skin, the mouth, the lungs, the GI tract, and even the female reproductive tract. If that were not complex enough, different subsections of each region can also differ from other subsections of the same region. Such examples include the groin versus the extremities (skin) and the small intestines versus the large intestines (GI).
While little is known about the Microbiome as a whole, we are starting to learn more about the bacteria that comprise the Microbiome. The bacteria of the Microbiome produce substances which can interact with our own physiology and trigger positive effects when in state of healthy balance, and negative effects when in a state of poor balance. This effect is most evident with the GI tract bacteria. There they can assist in healthy digestion or lead to food intolerances, promote weight gain or lead to weight loss, stimulate body-wide inflammation or promote normal immune balance, and even trigger psychological instabilities or have a calming and stabilizing mental effect.
Given the profound effects the bacteria of the Microbiome may have on our bodies, it is logical that we are now seeking to understand the diversity of bacterial species, their effects both for the positive and negative, and methods for restoring balance or triggering desired health outcomes. Needless to say, the Microbiome has a emerged as a new and exciting frontier in Medicine. Health may be achieved in a more natural way through support of the Microbiome than with medications which block and alter physiology in a forced way and unnatural way. Oral probiotics, foods rich in probiotics, and foods which support healthy and diverse bacterial strains are key to supporting a healthy Microbiome. Other factors include environmental exposures and nutritional factors such as amino acids, vitamins, and minerals.