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?
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.