How Does the Microbiome Affect Health?

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The human microbiome is a microbial community that lives on and in the human body.


What Exactly Is a Microbiome?

The human microbiome is an ecosystem of microbes that live on and inside the human body, and it includes bacteria, proteins, viruses, and fungi. The Human Microbiome Project discovered that the microbiome community in the human gut is more complex than the entire human genome and contains as many microbes as human cells.


How Does the Microbiome Affect Health?

Here are a few examples of how microbial communities can affect human health:

1. Brain health: According to microbiome researchers, short-chain fatty acids in the gut microbiome connect the brain and the gut. According to research, gut health can influence your mood, cognition, mental health, and pain sensitivity.

2. Gut health: Bacteria such as lactobacillus and bifidobacterium perform important gastrointestinal functions such as fiber digestion, metabolism enhancement, and bowel movement regulation. Microorganisms in your gut degrade dietary fiber and produce short-chain fatty acids, which are microbial metabolites that have an impact on nearly every aspect of your health. Crohn's disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and ulcerative colitis are all reduced by having a healthy gut microbiota.

3. Immune system health: Certain gut microbes stimulate immune cells, assisting in the defense against pathogens and infectious diseases. According to research, differences in the microbiome (along with environmental factors and antimicrobial product exposure) can influence a person's immune response and susceptibility to certain diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.


The Microbiome and Sleep

According to neuroscience professor Matthew Walker, sleep is just as important as diet in influencing the human microbiome. "What we've discovered is that in people who report getting insufficient sleep, there is a change in the balance of the gut microbiome," he says. According to Matthew, an examination of the gut microbiota of people who do not get enough sleep resembles that of people who have diabetes or obesity.

According to Matthew, the cause of this imbalance is cortisol overproduction. "Everyone requires cortisol," he claims. "It's normal biology. When we have too much cortisol, it begins to act like a chronic stress hormone." You must get at least six to eight hours of sleep per night to maintain a balanced microbiome.


How to Improve Your Microbiome

Here are some suggestions for enhancing your microbiome:

Consume fermented and probiotic foods. Kimchi, yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut are all probiotic-rich foods that can promote the growth of beneficial gut bacteria.

Consume a wide variety of whole foods. Eating plenty of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables is essential for maintaining a healthy microbial ecology. Whole foods promote the production of digestive enzymes in the gut and lower intestines.

Get enough rest. A healthy microbiome, according to neuroscientists, influences cognitive function. Sleeping for at least six to eight hours per night can help balance the microbiome and improve brain function. Learn how to improve your sleep quality from neuroscientist Matthew Walker.

Seek probiotic therapy. Although it is uncommon, some people may require medical intervention, such as microbiota transplantation, to restore microbiome balance. Such treatments introduce beneficial microbes (commensal microbes) into the gut and intestines of people suffering from dysbiosis, which is often caused by antibiotic resistance.

Take a supplement on a daily basis. Probiotic and prebiotic supplements can promote healthy intestinal microbiome activity. Consult your doctor before using them because they may interact with other medications or worsen pre-existing health conditions.

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