Our bodies are home to roughly 100 trillion microscopic organisms. Just as different animals and plants live in different regions of the world, communities of microbes, or microbiomes, inhabit different parts of our bodies.
Like a vibrant coral reef, a healthy person’s gut is a busy and thriving ecosystem of hundreds of species of microorganisms, including bacteria, fungi and viruses. Emerging research is discovering the valuable role the gut microbiome plays in metabolism, immune response, mental health, and more.
Over the last 60 years, there has been a marked increase in chronic autoimmune, autoinflammatory, metabolic and neurologic conditions. Scientists predict that these conditions will affect 1 in 4 individuals by 2025. Many of these chronic conditions are marked by dysbiosis, which refers to a lack of diversity or overgrowth of certain microbial species in the gut. The following is a small list of conditions with associated gut dysbiosis:
The microbiome changes in response to the foods we eat, the products we use, and the medications we take. Stress, exercise and sleep habits also cause changes in the microbiome. New understanding of the microbiome’s role in a wide range of conditions is opening new frontiers in medical research.