May Microbes: The Human Microbiome

Did you know our bodies are hosts to a variety of bacterial species? Have no fear though, these inhabitants work together to keep us healthy and are known as our microbiome. The body’s microbiome exists both internally and externally, and as scientists work to understand how it influences our health, we gain important insight to our own personal health. 

The Gut Microbiome

One of the more talked about microbiomes is our gut microbiome. As the name suggests, this is the microbiome that exists in our “guts”, or more specifically our gastrointestinal tract. The gut microbiome plays a key role in how we process food, fight infections, and researchers are finding it can even influence our mental health. 

For the gut microbiome, things like prebiotics and probiotics can help to support the good bacteria inhabiting your gut. Other foods that are high in fiber, fruits and vegetables, and fermented drinks like kombucha are praised for their ability to nourish the gut microbiome. The big takeaway here is to help your gut microbiome stay as diverse as possible because the inhabitants in your gut are what help you fight infection and reduce disease. 

Although no two microbiomes are exactly alike, understanding what makes your own microbiome thrive can be a big step in improving your overall health. You may be wondering how you can get a more in-depth look at your own gut microbiome? Similar to the at-home genetics tests like 23andMe, there are options on the market to be able to analyze your own gut microbiome. Companies like Thryve, Viome, Psmogen and Sun Genomics offer at-home testing kits to help you better understand your own gut microbiome! Having an analysis like this could help you understand if you are helping or hurting your microbiome.

The Skin Microbiome

In a similar fashion to how the gut microbiome works to keep us healthy, the skin microbiome does the same but externally. Since skin is relatively dry, especially when compared to the gastrointestinal tract, the microbes present on the skin rely on our sweat and oils to maintain stability and stay alive. It’s no surprise that our skin has its own microbiome, afterall, it is the largest organ! 

The skin microbiome plays an important role in protecting us from external infection and regulating our overall skin health. The organisms present on our skin exist as its own “ecosystem” which is thought to protect us from infections by signaling to our immune cells and immune system when something unwanted is on our skin. 

To learn more about the skin microbiome, check out these other articles:

The Skin Microbiome and The Human Skin Microbiome.

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