What is the Microbiome
The microbiome is the collection of all the microorganisms (bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses) that live in and on the human body.
Most people think of microbes as germs that make us sick. But there are more good microbes in our bodies than bad ones. In fact, we need them to stay healthy! These good microbes are known as the microbiome.
The microbiome is made up of trillions of microorganisms (also called microbiota or microbes) of thousands of different species. These include not only bacteria but fungi, parasites, and viruses. In a healthy person, these “bugs” coexist peacefully, with the largest numbers found in the small and large intestines but also throughout the body.
The microbiome performs many important functions. For example, it helps to digest food, produces vitamins, protects against infection, and plays a role in our mood and overall health. Recent research has even shown that the microbiome may influence our risk for conditions like obesity, heart disease, and cancer.
So how do we keep our microbiome healthy? Probiotics (“good” bacteria found in fermented foods like yoghurt and sauerkraut) and prebiotics (fibre found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains) are thought to support a healthy microbiome.