The Human Microbiome: What Is It?

microbiomeHave you heard about the microbiome? If not, don’t despair. You are not alone. Researchers have long known that humans are made up of a mostly microbes, up to 100 trillion of them. As a matter of fact, the number of microbes that exist within the human body outnumber actual human cells ten to one. And the vast majority of these live inside the digestive system, most commonly in the large intestine. The term microbiome refers to the genetic material that is contained within the microbes that live within the body.

A microbe has approximately 200 times more genetic material than the equivalent human genome. This means, that in one person’s microbiome there is approximately 200 times the amount of genetic material than what exists in their own DNA. All of this genetic material adds about 5lbs. to your total body weight. Your microbiome helps you to digest your food, keep your immune system operating at peak performance, and helps to stimulate the production of certain essential vitamins such as B12, thiamine, riboflavin and vitamin K, which are all essential for proper blood clotting.

The microbiome was not identified until the late 1990s and even then wasn’t recognized for the vital role it plays in our overall health until much later. The microbiome is essential from many different perspectives. It plays a role in human growth and development as well as the development of immunity and is essential in ensuring that we receive adequate nutrition from our diets. The bacteria that exist within the microbiome are not detrimental to our health. Conversely, they colonize various body systems and support their function. Without a properly functioning microbiome, autoimmune diseases such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, MS, MD, and even fibromyalgia would be much more commonplace.

What is the Human Microbiome Project (HMP)? 

Because our microbiome is so important to our health, worldwide research initiatives are being launched in an effort to map the human microbiome in an effort to better understand the role it plays. These initiatives are giving us unparalleled insights into previously uncharted species and genes of microbes.

Why is the Human Microbiome Project important? 

Current studies support the position that someone’s microbiome has the ability to influence their susceptibility to infectious diseases and may contribute to chronic illnesses of several major body systems. Being able to better understand the role the microbiome plays in overall human health will not only help us to understand the root cause of specific diseases and conditions, but can also help identify the best course of action for treatment.

Call Cynthia with NutriLife Wellness today at 561-425-2845 to get more information on the human microbiome.

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