5 Insane Facts About Your Microbiome That You Need To Know About
Feb 10, 2023
We have all heard about the microbiome because the notion of improving and protecting it has become widely popular among health enthusiasts and scientific researchers alike, but what exactly is it?
This article provides a long-awaited explanation that will help you understand what it is, what it does, what it is influenced by, and probably most interestingly, what it influences within your body.
Once you realise how significant your microbiome is, you’ll understand why here at JUVIA, we’re absolutely obsessed with it! We’ve developed our product to help rebalance your microbiome so the good bacteria thrive and a naturally harmonious environment is created in your body.
Let’s dive in.
What is the microbiome?
In short, your microbiome is a diverse collection of microbes that live in and on the human body. It consists of bacteria, fungi, viruses, and other microorganisms. The biggest and most diverse range of microbes is found in the gut, but they exist on your skin and in other places too.
The main focus of this article is the gut microbiome and its implications on health. The gut microbiome is made up of trillions of microbes and helps to regulate many important bodily functions such as digestion, immune response, metabolism, gut and quite potentially, mental health.
There are as many microbes in the human body as there are human cells
It is estimated that more than 10,000 different bacterial species inhabit the gut microbiome and they contain over 3 million genes.
We rely on these microbes to perform particular functions for us and we would struggle to survive without them. Take digestion, for example; we lack particular enzymes necessary to break down fibre, but the microbes in our gut fill this gap and break it down for us.
Your microbiome is considered a second genome
Because of the vast genetic material contained in the microbes found in your gut, and because these microbes rely on their genetic material to perform functions that also serve the human body, your gut microbiome is considered a second genome. In other words, humans are able to rely on an alternative existential genome other than their own.
Your gut bacteria are constantly evolving and adapting to their environment, which changes over time. Part of this evolutionary process enables the bacteria to better digest different food sources for their and indeed our survival. This includes resistant starches, some dairy products, and fibre. Your gut bacteria also synthesise various vitamins such as B and K, which are essential for gut health.
Our gut microbes rely on us entirely for their food source and we rely on them to get the most out of our foods while having the least consequence on our bodies. It’s a win-win for all.
Your microbiome educates itself
Your microbiome also plays a role in educating your immune system on how to defend itself, particularly in your early life. Believe it or not, your immune response to foreign threats is not hard-wired into your cell’s programming. Your GALT immune cells learn this from your gut bacteria, which trains them on how to tolerate a variety of friendly bacteria that do not pose a threat to the survival of our immune system but benefit the human body in the long term. This avoids unnecessary inflammatory responses, which itself is a benefit.
Humans that are exposed to a greater variety of bacteria (within reason) in early life tend to have fewer allergies and less inflammation later in life. This is because their immune cells are less likely to attack innocent or harmless strains of bacteria, which increases inflammation unnecessarily. A good example of this is children that have pets or who are exposed to the outdoors. So, don’t be afraid to let your kids get their hands dirty from time to time.
Gut bacteria are also thought to be able to ‘steal’ genes from other organisms, allowing them to adapt quickly in order to better digest various food sources. The process is called a horizontal gene transfer. A good example is when some strains of bacteria that were unable to digest seaweed have been observed acquiring genes from sea-weed-eating bacteria that enable them to adapt and digest nori and wakame. In case you are wondering, this is a big deal.
This discovery has propelled a theory that bacteria, which reproduce very quickly and therefore are more susceptible to frequent advantageous adaptation than humans, may well be the reason that humans were able to adapt to their environments so quickly. Otherwise, we would have had to wait millennia to achieve the same digestive-capable adaptions. And, who has time for that?
Your microbiome has broader health implications.
At least 80% of your immune system derives from your gut. Therefore, your gut health is fundamental to your overall health. The chances are, if you are experiencing inflammation in your body, your gut has a role to play in either its cause or its solution, and potentially both.
Your gut is also responsible for abstracting or synthesising the nutrients that your body needs to keep you fit and healthy. When this process breaks down, which is common if you are eating an unhealthy diet that unbalances your gut, then you can expect adverse consequences on your health.
Gut health is therefore key to your overall health. JUVIA is designed to help you achieve the optimum balance in your gut microbiome. It does this by breaking down the carbohydrates that some people find difficult to digest before they get to the gut. This also denies the unfriendly bacteria in your gut of its vital food source, which promotes the growth of friendly bacteria. This balances your gut microbiome and lets you enjoy the foods that you like - a win-win.
Your microbiome may affect your mood and mental health.
The gut is now referred to as your “second brain”. This is because the gut and brain have long been known to communicate bidirectionally, both via the vagus nerve and other pathways.
Interestingly those with mental health conditions, including depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, often have similar microbiomes that are characterised by imbalance and increased intestinal permeability (dysbiosis). By itself, this is not enough to implicate our guts as a cause, but it certainly suggests a link.
The mechanisms by which our bacteria may shape mood aren’t fully understood, although multiple plausible pathways have been suggested. It is hypothesised that microbiota can transmit neurotransmitters via the vagus nerve, shaping behaviour.
Likewise, researchers suspect some short-chain fatty acids may be neuroactive, offering another mechanism by which microbiota may modulate mood.
The most interesting discovery regarding our gut’s perceived ability to shape our mood and mental health comes from the discovery that 90% of our serotonin - the feel-good hormone, is produced in our gut.
This is yet another reason why it is vital to treat your gut health as a priority. Although clinical tests are required to evidence a direct link, it is unsurprising that many of JUVIA’s users report significant improvements to their mood and emotional well-being.
If you want to take your gut health seriously and feel free in 2023, then give JUVIA a try.