So what is all the buzz about the human microbiome? In its simplest form, the microbiome is the community of microorganisms (called microbiota) that share our body space, including: bacteria, fungi, and archaea (single cell organisms that can live in extremely harsh environments). The microbiota is thought to have a mutualistic relationship with its human host, which means humans and the microbiota work together to keep each other healthy.
I first learned about the microbiota in our gut, but the microbiome actually thrives throughout the human body; including in our skin, nose, mouth, lungs, intestine, rectum, colon, stomach, and urinary tract. Researchers have recently discovered that these microbiota significantly contribute to our overall health. For example, your microbiome can influence the amount of neurotransmitters active in your brain, which can have drastic impacts on your mental health (http://www.tedmed.com/talks/show?id=293045).
CHHE recently hosted Dr. Rodney Dietert, professor of Immunotoxicology, to talk about the human microbiome. Dr. Dietert published a book called, The Human Super-Organism, which says that we can actually improve our own health by strategically cultivating our individual microbiomes. For more information: http://www.vet.cornell.edu/microbiology/faculty/Dietert/
More about the human microbiome:
Even though we cannot see the organisms that share our body, they seem to be making a significant impact on our overall health. I will continue my quest to acquire more knowledge on this topic, and I encourage you to do the same!