and why it is important for our health
Our inside world
The microbiome refers to the vast and diverse community of microorganisms that live on and inside the human body, as well as in other environments like soil, water, and air. In the context of human health, the term “microbiome” most commonly refers to the collection of microorganisms residing in and on our bodies, particularly the gastrointestinal tract (gut microbiome), but also the skin, mouth, respiratory tract, and reproductive organs.
The human microbiome consists of various microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, archaea, and other single-celled organisms. These microorganisms are incredibly abundant, and their collective genetic material significantly outnumbers the genes found within our human cells.
The gut microbiome, in particular, plays a central role in human health and has garnered significant attention from researchers in recent years. It influences various physiological processes, including digestion, nutrient absorption, metabolism, and immune system regulation. Additionally, the gut microbiome has been linked to other aspects of health, such as mental well-being, cardiovascular health, and the risk of developing certain diseases.
Each person’s microbiome is unique and can be influenced by factors such as genetics, early life exposure (e.g., during birth and breastfeeding), diet, environment, and medication use, including antibiotics.
Advancements in DNA sequencing technology have enabled researchers to better understand the complexity of the microbiome and its impact on human health. Studying the microbiome opens up new avenues for personalized medicine and interventions focused on promoting a healthy microbiome to improve overall well-being and prevent or treat certain diseases. However, there is still much to learn, and ongoing research is continuously uncovering the intricate interactions between the microbiome and human health.