Over the years, technological innovations have paved the way towards advancing the medical field. Among the breakthroughs concerning health and medicine is the concept of microbiomes. These are microorganisms living inside the digestive tract. They are linked with roles involving hereditary traits, defense against diseases, and overall immunity, which makes them a generally vital aspect in staying healthy.

There are several reasons why microbiomes are important in maintaining optimal health and well-being. These include the following:

It protects the body against diseases

A microbiome plays a crucial role in maintaining a strong immune system. The immune system serves as a defense mechanism against all kinds of diseases. Some illnesses that can be prevented with a healthy microbiome are as follows:

  • Allergies

These occur when people are exposed to something that is typically risk-free, but causes the immune system to overreact. The gut microbiome is vital in regulating allergic reactions. Various forms of allergic responses are found to be potentially remedied through the moderation of microbiomes.

  • Diabetes

A research conducted in 2017 by the Institute for Advanced Biosciences of Keio University in Japan provided proof that improving the gut microbiome is important in managing diabetes. It was found that by maintaining a healthy and nutritious diet, people can lower the risk of increasing their insulin levels.

  • Cancer

The study of microbiomes aids in obtaining a closer look at cancer by determining people’s risk levels. It provides more advanced ways to treat the disease with fewer side effects. Through maintaining a healthy microbiome by eating fresh and healthy food, the onset of cancer can be prevented.

Aside from these, the microbiome is also linked with other health conditions such as:

  • Eczema
  • Celiac disease
  • Inflammatory bowel diseases
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Gastric ulcers
  • Heart disease

To further understand the importance of microbiomes, read on about the Biohackers Lab interview with Dr. Amy Proal or watch this video:

Dr. Proal has extensive experience and knowledge regarding the importance of the human microbiome.

It is important in nutrition absorption

Gut microbes play a significant role in helping people absorb essential nutrients and produce the energy they need throughout the day. Without the gut microbiome, digesting and breaking down compound molecules from food cannot be accomplished. The metabolic activity of the gut microbiome influences people’s diets, which could affect  food cravings, the sensation of a full appetite, and even determines one’s nutritional pattern.

Here are good food habits you can adapt to help keep your gut microbes healthy:

  • Eat lots of fiber-rich plant foods

Consuming plant foods are beneficial in obtaining the fiber that is broken down to butyrate, which helps prevent colon cancer.

  • Have an intake of probiotics

Probiotics such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium help supply good bacteria that aid in the development of a healthy microbiome. They can be consumed through foods like yogurt, kombucha, and pickles.

  • Don’t neglect collagen

Incorporating collagen in your diet can improve the development of new tissue in your gut lining, which helps maintain a healthy microbiome.

  • Be mindful of sugar intake

The next time you decide to indulge in sweets, keep in mind that sugar supplies nutrition to bad bacteria. When this happens, gastric and intestinal troubles such as diarrhea and bloating could occur.

Take note that maintaining a healthy diet is not only easy, but can also keep your microbiome and whole body in good shape.

It keeps your brain healthy

Microbiomes are concerned with the physical condition of man as well as his overall mental well-being. Last 2017, a research conducted by the Department of Psychiatry in the Health Sciences Center of Texas Tech University showed that the gut microbiome affects one’s brain. They found that impaired microbiomes could lead to mental illnesses.

Among the brain-related conditions that microbiomes affect are:

  • Psychological Disorders

Researchers found that some psychological disorders are linked to the state of the gut microbiome. When the latter is not thriving well, a person can be vulnerable to conditions such as anxiety, depression, autistic spectrum disorder, and chronic fatigue syndrome.

  • Quality of Sleep

Gut health can affect one’s quality of sleep. Serotonin yields melatonin, more fondly known as the sleep hormone, and is found in the gut. In fact, the gut contains over 400 times more sleep hormones than that of the brain. Additionally, females have a greater tendency to experience sleep problems due to an unbalanced gut.

  • Memory

Various studies showed that the more disrupted a microbiome is, the more likely it is to cause dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers found that people with these memory loss conditions have less diverse gut microbiomes.

The microbiome is vital to your overall health because it helps improve and maintain your physical and even emotional well-being. Should the microbiome be thrown out of balance, your brain, gut, mental health, and metabolism could suffer. Microbiomes hold great promise not only as a cure for ailments, but also as a preventive measure. It is essential that you make the most out of this discovery to stay happy and healthy.

Cite this article as:
Editorial Staff, "What Is Microbiome and Why It’s Important," in Medicalopedia, March 25, 2019, [Permalink: https://www.medicalopedia.org/7348/what-is-microbiome-and-why-its-important/].