Part 1 - WHAT IS THE MICROBIOME AND WHY SHOULD YOU CARE ABOUT IT!?
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Meet Your Microbiome

Kara Jacobson

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What is the microbiome?
Even if you don’t identify as a “wellness” fanatic, you’ve probably still heard the words microbiome or gut. But what exactly do they mean? And how are they different? Never fear, my curious friends, at Health-Ade we’re on a mission to make gut health digestible—so let’s break it down!

Simply put, the microbiome is the community of friendly bacteria and yeast (AKA microbes) that lives in your GI tract.1 It’s what we fondly refer to as the “gut”. Zoom in closer and you’ll find that within a single human’s healthy gut there are somewhere between 300-500 different species of organisms. In total, these little guys make up over 2 million genes, which means the gut (AKA microbiome) is VASTLY larger than our own human genome (like 10X bigger).1 The sheer quantity of these bacteria compared to that of our own cells, is reason enough to make us wonder—what’s going on in there?

What does the microbiome do?
With such a massive population of microbes, it’s no wonder there’s a lot happening in your gut! The microbiome impacts our energy levels, moods, sleep, digestion, metabolism, inflammation, and immunity1-3,6,7. It affects all those parts of your life through 4 primary functions:

  • Mining calories and nutrients from food that your organs alone cannot digest or metabolize.
  • Producing very important compounds that your body depends on for all kinds of functions.
  • Breaking down things you don’t want or need.
  • Keeping invasive or “bad” pathogens away.

Why should we care about the microbiome?
Somewhere in medical history, the microbiome got stuck with an unfortunate nickname, “the forgotten organ”.1,7 This is not only false—since the microbiome isn’t an organ at all, but rather a community of microbes that lives within us—it also speaks volumes about how little we’ve known about this part of human body for most of scientific history.

The truth is the human microbiome is SO ESSENTIAL to so many of our body’s functions that it shouldn’t be last on the list or forgotten at all. If we care about our moods, energy levels, sleep, inflammation, blood sugar, or immune responses—our microbiome is likely the first place we should investigate.2,6,7

Now that we know a bit more about our microbiomes, we can dive deeper into the science behind keeping them healthy and diverse. Follow along for more gut health and wellness with our founder and certified nutritionist, Daina Trout.

Thirsty for more gut-talk? Join the Health-Ade community to get the latest on microbiome health, plus unlock early access to new products, promos and more.

Sources:

  1. Eamonn M. M. Quigley, MD, FRCP, FACP, FACG, FRCPI, et al. Gut Bacteria in Health and Disease. Gastroenterol Hepatol (N Y). 2013 Sep; 9(9): 560–569.

  2. Guarner F, Malagelada JR. Gut flora in health and disease. Lancet. 2003;361(9356):512–519.

  3. Sekirov I, Russell SL, Antunes LC, Finlay BB. Gut microbiota in health and disease. Physiol Rev. 2010;90(3):859–904.

  4. Marques TM, Wall R, Ross RP, Fitzgerald GF, Ryan CA, Stanton C. Programming infant gut microbiota: influence of dietary and environmental factors. Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2010;21(2):149–156.

  5. Palmer C, Bik EM, DiGiulio DB, Relman DA, Brown PO. Development of the human infant intestinal microbiota. PLoS Biol. 2007;5(7):e177.

  6. Clemente JC, Ursell LK, Parfrey LW, Knight R. The impact of the gut micro-biota on human health: an integrative view. Cell. 2012;148(6):1258–1270.

  7. O’Hara AM, Shanahan F. The gut flora as a forgotten organ. EMBO Rep. 2006;7(7):688–693.

Today's blog is written by our very own Daina Trout, MS, MPH

Daina is not just our Co-Founder, she is also a nutritionist that has spent her adult life dedicated to finding and sharing health and wellness through food. With 2 masters' degrees in nutritional biochemistry and public health, Daina has called upon her education often while leading the way at Health-Ade - from how we make every batch of kombucha, to how we talk about gut health to consumers, to even how healthy our employee workplace is! She even writes a few blogs here and there. Happy reading! :)

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