Your gut microbiome is a vast, interconnected community of trillions of bacteria and fungi that inhabit every aspect of your (GI) gastrointestinal tract, and have a major influence on your metabolism, body weight, propensity to illness, immune system, appetite and mood. Think of this network of living bacteria as an interwoven web of living, communicating elements, no different than your blood cells, that truly make you – YOU!
The microbiome is a community of bacteria that live in the gut. Human gastrointestinal microbiota, also known as gut flora or gut microbiota, are the microorganisms that live in the digestive tracts of humans. Nowadays, we know that over 1,000 different types of microbes are active in the human intestines. Thanks to major advances in science & technology, it is now possible to perform accurate analyses of the microbiome using 16S rRNA sequencing to identify these bacteria based on their DNA. In fact, the genes in the human microbiome outnumber the genes in the human body 100 to 1.
Crudely put, the human is basically a tube from mouth to colon, surrounded by a big meat sack of water and protein made up of DNA. Your lifestyle and what you feed your living body (your inputs) create outputs through RNA and DNA gene expression. Everything you expose your system to, the food you eat, the environment you live in, the pharmaceuticals you consume, are all incoming code, that is translated and what is output is quite literally who you are, and how you feel.
Gut bacteria are part of a big group of microbes that perform important jobs for the human body like digesting food and breaking down dietary fibre, synthesising vitamins and essential chemical compounds as well as protecting the body from inflammation. Some bacteria may participate in the development of certain illnesses but, for most species, only if they are present in abnormal amounts. When the microbiome is balanced, it is able to prevent the intrusion and overgrowth of potentially pathogenic bacteria, thus contributing to overall health.
To experience optimal health and wellness, your focus has to be on optimising the delicate balance of positive microbiota that make up who you are, and how you feel/experience the world around you.