The human microbiome is defined as the entirety of micro-organism living on and in the human body. It can also be called microbiota or microflora.
It is an extension of our selves; it plays a protective role and is an integral part of the barrier function of our skin.
We have recently heard it called ‘your personal Amazonian rainforest’; that is as close as it gets to the truth.
Sounds like a pretty big deal, so why have I never heard about this before?
The concept and the name are quite new. It really started to be talked about in 2012, when the Human Microbiome Project was completed. Using the new technique of genetic sequencing, the aim of this program was to get a map of all bacteria living on humans.
The results are amazing: it is literally a whole new world right under our noses (and ON your nose, and IN your nose…).
Why is it important?
To put it simply, it redefines what it means to be human. 50% of cells in your body are bacterial cells and an even higher percentage of your DNA is bacterial.
The communication and interaction between the ‘you’ you and the ‘bacterial’ you is extremely intense. It turns out that your microbiome helps you absorbs food, trains your immune system, regulates your mood… and it seems like every day we are discovering new roles that it plays. Think about it as a new multi-function organ, or even an extension of your self.
So, wait – does that mean that I have bacteria on my body?
Yes, you sure do. Bacteria Here, There and Eve-ry-whe-re. This is A Good Thing. Generally we talk about the following microbiomes:
The gut microbiome: the hot topic at the moment, especially for all the brands selling yogurt and food supplements. A lot of your neurons are located next to it and communicate constantly, creating an information highway.
Then there’s our favourite, the skin microbiome: it keeps you protected against aggressions, keeps your immune system in check and reduces inflammation.
Other microbiomes are: the vagina, the mouth, the nose and the respiratory system: all still quite uncharted territories.
Another one is the belly button microbiome, and it’s totally amazing – they even found extremophiles bacteria in there (they’re the ones that usually live in volcanoes or glaciers).
And it turns out even zones that we thought were totally sterile, like the lungs and the placenta, might have little bacterial ecosystems all of their own.
This new research opens up a whole world of possibilities and the future of the microbiome research looks bright and very sunny. How wonderful that Gallinée is a part of it.
Want to know even more about your microbiome? Take a look here:
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