What is Microbiome and Why is it Such a Big Deal?

You might be hearing about the microbiome—and wondering if it’s really important or just a flavor-of-the-month topic. Here’s the microbiome definition & more. 

The microbiome is making headlines in mainstream media publications, bringing it to the attention of more and more people—and, because some of the articles can get pretty technical, we decided to explain the fundamentals in our post. 

To help, we first turned to the Merriam Webster dictionary, which gives the following as its microbiome definition: “a community of microorganisms (such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses) that inhabit a particular environment and especially the collection of microorganisms living in or on the human body.”

As noted by Science Daily, microorganisms are, by definition, so small that you can’t see them with the naked eye. They can only be seen using a microscope and, although you might think that they are single celled (unicellular), some microscopic organisms are in fact multi-celled. 

The human body, in fact, is home to approximately 100 trillion bacteria and other microbes, and their abundance is what’s making microbiome research a red-hot area of exploration, at least in part, especially in connection with how it can impact our health. 

Gut-Brain Axis

At the core of microbiome research lies the gut-brain axis, a superhighway between the brain and gut that we explored in a recent blog post. In short, there are pathways between the gut and brain, both direct and indirect, with communications between them taking place both physically and bio-chemically. They also have help from other systems within the body, including the endocrine, immune, and autonomic nervous systems. 

Here’s what else plays a crucial role in this gut-brain superhighway: your body’s microbiome. In fact, these microorganisms are so important that a professor from the University of California San Diego told the BBC that we’re “more microbe” than human.
The New York Times is calling human microbiome research “perhaps the most promising yet challenging task of modern medicine,” with these two key components:

  • determining what’s a normal microscopic mix in each human organ
  • knowing how to restore proper balance when disrupted to help restore good health

So, scientists are collaborating on the Human Microbiome Project to discover how the following tissues should ideally look: “gastrointestinal tract, oral cavity, skin, airways, urogenital tract, blood and eye.” It’s a good start!

Microbiomes and Mental Health

Not too long ago, all this talk about invisible little organisms traveling through your body and playing a key role in physical health would have sounded like science fiction—and, to add to the picture, scientists are learning that the human microbiome can play a big role in “how you feel mentally on an everyday basis.” 

Traditionally, it was believed that our brain sent messages to the rest of our body. And, while that’s still true, the groundbreaking news is that the stomach is also sending important messages to the brain, in large part through the human microbiome. That’s why what you eat and the quality of your nutrition can play a key factor in your mental health and emotional well-being.

There are eight known neurotransmitters (nerve fiber chemicals) that can impact your happiness, including serotonin and dopamine. And, as much of 90 percent of serotonin is actually created in our guts! Seriously. Plus, about half of our body’s dopamine is also created in our gut, which helps to illustrate how the quality of your microbiome and how well it’s balanced can play a huge role in how you feel daily.Science fiction, this is not! The new wave of science—Yes. That, it is.

Ready to test your own mental wellness? Get a helpful picture in just five minutes’ time with our convenient assessment tool. 

About Roger & Jane Hardy

Roger and Jane created Hardy Healthy Gut to show you that every problem in life is easier to solve when your mind and body are working properly.
And you don't have to be a health nut or fitness enthusiast to enjoy a mind & body that's firing on all cylinders.

All it takes are simple, daily habits that get easier and easier with practice.

The tips we teach are the same simple daily habits that helped us feel better in our 40's than we did in our 20's.
And these same daily habits have made our 50's and 60's a successful adventure!

Now we look forward to the future and we're enjoying getting older!

Which proves that age is just a number and that number isn't what's slowing you down.
Your age isn't the real cause of those aches, pains, and brain fog.

All of this is possible for you too, my friend!

So thank you for being here. I hope you use these tips to transform your life and enjoy retirement as much as we have!

Click here to learn more about how Roger can help you boost your success

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