The Gut Microbiome
The human gut harbors 100 trillion microorganisms including bacteria, yeast, fungi, and other microbes. This diverse ecosystem influences everything from immune function and digestion to emotional well-being and so much more. The gut microbiome is a community—each microbe completes important tasks that contribute to the welfare of the whole. Some microbes metabolize foods and pass on the metabolites to other species. Other members maintain a healthy gut pH, support the host’s immune system, support food metabolism, or maintain the gut barrier. Even opportunistic species play an important role when present in small amounts!
When biodiversity in the gut is lost or when species are out of balance, the whole microbial community is affected. This creates a cascading effect that can manifest itself in seemingly unrelated areas of the body.