ELI5, what is a gut biome and why is it important?


ELI5, what is a gut biome and why is it important?

In: 10

Your gut relies on various types of bacteria, numbering in the trillions, to help break down food. Collectively they are the biome. If the types of bacteria within the biome get out of balance with each other, it can impact the ability to process food and lead to digestive issues. The health of this biome had recently been linked to mental health as well, though more research needs to be done.

The health of the biome can be impacted by a number of different factors such as environmental, disease or even genetics.

Fun fact, an effective way to treat biome deficiencies is to harvest the bacteria from the poop of a person with a healthy biome so it can be ingested by the person with the deficiency.

These are the good bacteria and viruses that inhabit the intestines. These guys make your gut work normally and keep bad bacteria and viruses out. Some people treated with strong antibiotics kill their good guy bacteria allowing bad actors to thrive, such as *clostridium difficile.*

The simple answer is that the gut microbiome helps to break down some of the food we eat and increase our nutrient intake. The good gut bacteria also prevents bad bacteria from establishing itself in our guts and multiplying, so it protects us from infections.

The more complicated answer is that we simply don’t know the full picture. Studies have been able to show that gut health plays a part in mental health, diseases all over the body and not just the gut, autism, etc. But often we are only able to identify the correlation but not the mechanism behind why the gut microbiome can have such widereaching impacts.