Generally attributed to Nobel laureate microbiologist Joshua Lederberg, there is some debate[i] about when and where the term microbiome first appeared and in what context. Regardless, the word has become important as science continues to uncover more about the link between the bacteria inside our bodies and how they impact our health.
WHAT IS THE MICROBIOME?
The human microbiome is the vast collection of microorganisms in and on the body, primarily in the digestive tract, that is known to support internal balance and health. It is made up of about 40 trillion bacterial cells[ii], most of which are beneficial and promote good digestion and health, along with other types of neutral and harmful bacteria.
The key to a healthy microbiome is making sure the beneficial and neutral bacteria outnumber the harmful bacteria, which is why we so often hear about the importance of maintaining a balanced gut.
HOW DOES THE MICROBIOME IMPACT HEALTH?
“Researchers are finding that the gut microbes are important for health because they impact many fundamental biological processes, such as digestion, nutrition, gut function, immunity and metabolism.”
This is what Dr. Elaine Hsiao, Assistant Professor in the Department of Integrative Biology & Physiology at UCLA, had to say on the subject in a recent interview[iii] with Renew Life, and a growing number of studies continue to confirm and expand upon her statement.
Earlier this year, a review[iv] was published in the journal SN Comprehensive Clinical Medicine that explored the most current literature on the subject of the gut microbiota and its impact on human health. Pointing out that science continues to find new connections between gut bacteria and wellness, the study authors stated that, “it is of paramount importance that all clinicians be aware of the most up-to-date literature in this field.”
The review offers an in-depth look at how the human microbiome develops, how antibiotics can upset a healthy internal balance and reduce the number of good bacteria in the gut, and the role of exercise in improving microbial diversity. Perhaps most importantly, it explores the connection between gut bacteria and numerous body systems and processes, including brain function, metabolism, immune health and more.
HOW DO PROBIOTICS FIT INTO THE EQUATION?
While good bacteria exist within our microbiome, their numbers can be depleted over time by factors such as stress, our environment, eating unhealthy foods, taking certain medications and even just the normal aging process.
When our gut microbial balance is thrown out of whack, it’s not just our digestive health that suffers; our whole body can feel the effects of an unhealthy gut—from our mood and memory to our sleep patterns, weight and, of course, our immune function.
However, making sure we get additional good bacteria throughout life can increase our chances of maintaining a well-balanced gut. Probiotics are live microorganisms that are found naturally in some foods[v] or ingested in the form of a daily probiotic supplement to add to our good bacteria stores. It’s also important to consume plenty of prebiotics to provide nourishment for your beneficial gut microbes.
SUPPORT YOUR MIGHTY MICROBIOME WITH RENEW LIFE*
As a leader in digestive wellness, Renew Life understands the importance of a diverse, well-balanced microbiome to support optimal digestion and a healthy body—which is why all of our once-daily probiotics, digestive enzymes, herbal cleansing formulas, fiber and Omega-3 fish oil supplements work together to help you maintain internal balance and support a strong foundation of health.*
WRITTEN BY RENEW LIFE
Since 1997, Renew Life has been formulating superior-quality digestive care supplements to help people achieve optimal health from the inside out.* We proudly stand behind the quality, purity and potency of every product we make.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
[i] Prescott, S. History of medicine: Origin of the term microbiome and why it matters. Human Microbiome Journal
Volume 4, June 2017, Pages 24-25.
[ii] Greshko, M. How Many Cells Are in the Human Body—And How Many Microbes? National Geographic. January 2016.
[iii] Renew Life. The Study of Gut Health: A Conversation with Dr. Elaine Hsiao. https://blog.renewlife.com/.
[iv] Rodriguez, D. et al. The Gut Microbiota: A Clinically Impactful Factor in Patient Health and Disease. SN Comprehensive Clinical Medicine. March 2019, Volume 1, Issue 3, pp 188–19.
[v] Palsdottir, H. 11 Probiotic Foods That Are Super Healthy. Healthline Media. August 2018.