When Michael Pollan, Dr. Oz and two real life formerly-fat women schooled me on the relationship between gut bacteria, antibiotics and weight gain all in the same week, I knew I had to dig deeper into the issue.
The number of times I’ve heard the phrase “human microbiome” since then, particularly in relation to it being the next frontier of medical research, is more than considerable. (“Then” was back in February when I did this great interview, read Pollan’s Cooked, and caught a Dr. Oz article in the checkout line at Meijer in a magazine.)
If you haven’t already heard from both mainstream and real food/crunchy-culture media sources, the human body is host to over 3 trillion different bacteria, many of them beneficial to our health. Collectively, they’re termed the human microbiome, and now that gene sequence has been mapped, science is moving on to figuring out the who’s who of the little bugs in our systems.
Many scientists are nearly giddy with anticipation about the next discovery of bacterial importance in this process, fascinated, as am I, by what connections we may be able to pin between our bacteria and specific aspects of our health.
Although there’s plenty to read about the microbiome and we will likely be inundated with more for years to come, I hope to give you a nice foundation of basic information today, something you can refer to as you read about the microbiome in the years to come just to make sure you understand where these bacteria come from, a few examples of the importance they play in our health, how imbalances might occur and what we can do about it, at least with the knowledge we have at this moment.
You know what’s funny? My spellcheck doesn’t even recognize “microbiome” as a word yet. I predict that’s about to change…
This post is sponsored by Well Future, makers of the Well Belly probiotic for kids.