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What is the gut microbiome?

The two terms “microbiota” and “microbiome” are often used interchangeably to mean the same thing.

The subtle difference between these two terms can be distinguished as follows. The microbiota describes the entire microbial community that inhabits the human body. This community comprises of bacteria, viruses and fungi. The biggest populations of microbe reside in our gut, and this is also known as the gut microbiota.

Microbiome is the term used to described the total collection of all the genes and genetic material that microbes contribute to the human body. Currently, there is a huge interest in finding out how the body's microbial populations and their genetics are linked to health and disease.

How does the Gut Microbiome affect our health?

The microbiota and their genetic material, known as the microbiome, live in the human body and are necessary for normal health. An imbalanced gut microbiome can negatively influence the following four broad areas of importance to our well-being: nutrition, immunity, brain function and disease.

 

Strength & Vitality

Nutrition

There is increasing evidence that the nutritional value of food is influenced in part by each individual’s gut microbial community, and that food in turn shapes the microbiota and the gut microbiome.
Immune System

Immunity

The human gut microbial communities and immune systems co-evolve during the course of our lifespans, and components of the microbiota are known to impact the immune system.
Muscles & Bones

Disease

Evidence shows an association between inflammatory conditions and the microbiome although more research is needed to show which caused which.
Normal Vision

Brain Function

There is compelling evidence to support a link between the gut microbiota and brain function. According to the American Psychological Association, gut bacteria produce hundreds of neurochemicals that the brain uses to regulate basic physiological processes as well as mental processes such as learning, memory and mood.