What is the microbiome?
A microbiome is a collection of genomes of microbes such as bacteria that inhabits any given environment, or microbiota. They are found on sidewalks, door knobs, buildings, but most importantly, the human body.
Why is it important?
The gut houses nearly 10 trillion bacteria that influences various aspects of human health. Microbiome studies have shown that the gut microbiota serves a range of functions such as metabolism and chemical production that can affect mood all the way to the size of your waistline.
How does it affect human health?
Bacteria play a multifaceted role in our daily lives. They are on all facets of the human body such as the gut, mouth, nose, ears, genitals, and many more. (1-5)
Areas in studies that have shown association with the microbiome
Certain individuals with improperly working immune systems show signs of a different microbial profile in the gut and the mouth than healthy controls (6,7).
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) are common gut diseases that are potentially affected by the gut microbiota (8). Although the studies are still preliminary the science contains to still bring excitement.
Dietary fibers can only be broken down by bacteria in the digestive tract. For example, xyloglucans, a type of fiber commonly found in dietary vegetables such as lettuce and onions, can only be broken down by a group of bacteria called the Bacteroides (9).
The gut-brain axis produces a connection between the gut and neurons in the brain. Recent findings suggest that our gut may contribute to how we feel (2).
Ever wondered if you're absorbing enough nutrients? A diverse microbial system helps liberate short chain fatty acids, which is important in producing energy and the proper function of the immune system (4).
What can be done about it
We provide you the platform, tools, and community to improve your health. Health itself is an ambiguous word, but we provide you a chance to transform your body into quantitative data. We will then use that data and recommend you tips to improve your overall health. Even better, you will have a family and community of like-minded folks giving you tips. You'd probably even make lifelong friends.
How you can help
Microbiome research is an up and coming field requiring you to become a citizen scientist. By sending us your data, you have contributed to a revolutionary change that could potentially cure multiple chronic diseases.
1 Bowe, W. P. & Logan, A. C. Acne vulgaris, probiotics and the gut-brain-skin axis - back to the future? Gut Pathog 3, 1, doi:10.1186/1757-4749-3-1 (2011).
2 Cryan, J. F. & Dinan, T. G. Mind-altering microorganisms: the impact of the gut microbiota on brain and behaviour. Nat Rev Neurosci 13, 701-712, doi:10.1038/nrn3346 (2012).
3 Zapata, H. J. & Quagliarello, V. J. The microbiota and microbiome in aging: potential implications in health and age-related diseases. J Am Geriatr Soc 63, 776-781, doi:10.1111/jgs.13310 (2015).
4 Devaraj, S., Hemarajata, P. & Versalovic, J. The human gut microbiome and body metabolism: implications for obesity and diabetes. Clin Chem 59, 617-628, doi:10.1373/clinchem.2012.187617 (2013).
5 Frank, D. N. et al. Molecular-phylogenetic characterization of microbial community imbalances in human inflammatory bowel diseases. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 104, 13780-13785, doi:10.1073/pnas.0706625104 (2007).
6 Paun, A. & Danska, J. S. Modulation of type 1 and type 2 diabetes risk by the intestinal microbiome. Pediatr Diabetes 17, 469-477, doi:10.1111/pedi.12424 (2016).
7 Zhang, X. et al. The oral and gut microbiomes are perturbed in rheumatoid arthritis and partly normalized after treatment. Nat Med 21, 895-905, doi:10.1038/nm.3914 (2015).
8 Major, G. & Spiller, R. Irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease and the microbiome. Curr Opin Endocrinol Diabetes Obes 21, 15-21, doi:10.1097/MED.0000000000000032 (2014).
9 Shreiner, A. B., Kao, J. Y. & Young, V. B. The gut microbiome in health and in disease. Curr Opin Gastroenterol 31, 69-75, doi:10.1097/MOG.0000000000000139 (2015).