Did you know that your body is the home of trillions of microbes? And even more, did you know that these little critters are your friends and in fact an absolutely essential part of your health and wellbeing? We all have an internal ecosystem made up of these tiny microbes that’s referred to as the microbiome. It is an important part of both our immune system and our digestive system. A healthy microbiome, or gut flora, has a lot of diversity and is capable of fending of any unwanted intruders. It also helps break down food and absorb nutrients. In fact, these good bacteria even produce vitamins and help eliminate toxins.
Tag Archive: microbiome
You’re working out, watching what you eat and the scale won’t budge. You’re feeling vaguely unwell, tired, and stuck in a rut despite your efforts. So you think to yourself, what the heck is the problem? Chances are, it’s your inflamed gut talking, telling you you’re feeding it wrong. In fact, what you’re feeding it may be a lot more important than how much.
For a long time, the medical establishment treated viruses and bacteria as the enemy — alien invaders to be exterminated with antibiotics or attacked by the immune system as soon as they breached the body’s walls. Over the past several years, though, scientists have shown that the body is an ecosystem made up of more than 100 trillion microbes that, in order to maintain a person’s health, must be properly balanced and cared for. These various viruses, bacteria, fungi and protozoa in our bodies — called the microbiome — supply us with critical vitamins, help fight dangerous pathogens, keep the immune system in balance, and modulate weight and metabolism by extracting energy and calories from the food we eat.
Our bodies are covered in a sea of microbes -- both the pathogens that make us sick and the "good" microbes, about which we know less, that might be keeping us healthy. At TEDMED, microbiologist Jonathan Eisen shares what we know, including some surprising ways to put those good microbes to work.