Microbiome 102

Last time we talked about what is the microbiome and I mentioned some people compare it to the Amazonian rain forest. I think this is quite a fitting analogy, so I would like to take you through it.  

Like the rain forest, your microbiome is extremely diverse and luxuriant with unknown, mysterious and unexplored parts.

There is a lot of uncharted territories and what we discover within can potentially be life changing, sometime even lifesaving. Scientists are discovering brand new bacteria every day and the diversity of species is mindboggling.
Imagine your very own personal rain forest: it is totally unique to you and the result of millions of years of evolution.

Just like the rain forest, human activity is damaging it - a lot.
Our enthusiasm for antibiotics and antibacterial products meant that to target a few bad apples, we are wiping out entire species that had been there for millions of year, just gently co-evolving with us (if you want to know more you can read Martin Blaser’s excellent book “Missing Microbes”).

And like the rain forest, we will miss it when it’s gone.
Our own war on microbes is linked to a lot of “new diseases” cropping up in the world: obesity, allergies, auto-immune diseases, depression, anxiety, eczema, some cancers... The list is long and keeps getting longer.

Discovering a new world you own and are responsible for can feel a bit overwhelming. If like me you would like to protect and “garden” your microbiome there are a few easy steps you can take:

  • Try to reduce your antibiotic use, either by treatment or by ingesting it in meat raised on antibiotics. I encourage to sign the pledge, it only take 5 minutes https://antibioticguardian.com/
  •  Don’t overdo it on antibacterial products, as it tends to educate bad bacteria to survive. Use soap and water. I avoid triclosan in toothpaste to be on the safe side (The citrus toothpaste from Green People is pretty nice)
  • For your guts, promote your bacterial diversity by taking probiotics and prebiotics. We will write more on that subject.
  • And for your skin there’s this new brand called Gallinée that is coming out in March that will help to support your skin microbiome (Yes, we’re pushing our own brand. But then, we’re also the only skincare brand to support your microbiome. So what else can we do?).

So what should you remember about the microbiome from lesson 101 and 102?

  1. It’s the name for all the bacteria living with, on and in you. See it like an extension of yourself.
  2. Most of your good bacteria are in the gut, but cover every inch of your body
  3. Your microbiome is unique, fragile and extremely useful to you. Keep it safe!
  4. Only use antibiotics when necessary, don’t overdo antibacterial, get to know probiotics and prebiotics.

That’s it folks! 

Marie

Anna Needham