© 2014-16 American Museum of Natural History 

© 2014-16 American Museum of Natural History 

WHAT IS THE MICROBIOME?

"It turns out that we humans are not simply just humans. Each one of us is an ecosystem with an estimated one trillion other microscopic organisms living in and on us at any given time. And these organisms, collectively known as our microbiome, contain about 300 times the number of genes that our own genomes express… The more we learn about these organisms, the clearer it becomes that we are in fact superorganisms, each of us a little planet into ourselves, with residents and visitors. They affect our mood and our appearance, and play important roles in our immune systems." 
                     - Dr. Susan Perkins

This all important ecosystem of microbes (mostly bacteria) plays a critical roll in virtually all facets of our health.   We have about 30 trillion cells in our bodies - less than 1% of them belong to us; 99% of the unique DNA in your body is bacterial.  Here is some basic information about what the microbiome does:

  • Digestion
  • Detoxification
  • Trains and Regulates the Immune System
  • Modulates Cytokines (inflammatory chemicals)
  • Sends signals our genes and affects gene expression
  • Modifies vitamins
  • Produces Neurotransmitters (chemical messangers in our brains i.e. Serotonin)
  • Sends messages about the environment to our body systems

MICROBIOME EDUCATION RESOURCES

Articles:

"3 Things You Didn't Know About your Microbiome"  - an easy-to-read and brief article by Nutritionist, Jessica Kelley providing an overview of what the microbiome is and how it affects your mood, influences your weight, and develops your immune system.

"The Gut Brain Connection and How It Impacts Your Health" - Wellness Expert, Keri Glassman, briefly explains in easy-to-understand terms, how "scientists have discovered that the microbes in your gut are engages in an constant conversation with your mind.  And that chatter could be affecting your emotions, moods, and behavior in major ways."

"Meet Your Microbiome" - Physician and Microbiologist, Dr. Martin Blaser, discusses how changes in the human microbiome - through the overuse of antibiotics for example - may be contributing to an increase in chronic conditions including obesity, allergic disorders, and diabetes.

Health and our Microbiome read much more about this fascinating subject via the many resources of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City

Podcasts:

The Health Edge: Fellow Travelers – Microbiome and Health - "In this episode of The Health Edge Mark and John discuss the current research linking the microbiome to human health. They review why we have fewer and less diverse 'Fellow Travelers' and how we can begin to think about restoring this critical ecosystem legacy."

The Health Edge: Microbiome-Gut-Brain Health - Part 1 - "In this episode (the first of a two-part series) John and Mark explore the connection between the human microbiome, gut permeability, immune system, and brain health. They set the stage for mechanisms that connect lifestyle-environment with alterations in microbiota that alter brain function as manifested by depression, anxiety, cognitive decline, ADD-ADDHD, autsim spectrum, etc."

The Health Edge: Microbiome-Gut-Brain Health 2 - Part"In part two of this series on the connection between lifestyle, alterations of the microbiome, gut and brain connections and behavioral health, John and Mark examine the literature using fermentable foods and probiotics. In these studies, improvements in mood, anxiety, appetite regulation, cognition, and brain structure-function have been demonstrated. Mark and John summarize lifestyle interventions that can improve behavioral-mental health and allow people to come off or avoid psychtropic drugs, anti-depressants, and anxiolytics."

Television: 

"Brain Maker with David Perlmutter, MD" - Dr. David Perlmutter explains how the health of your brain is, to an extraordinary degree, dictated by the state of your microbiome — the vast population of organisms that live in your body and outnumber your own cells 10 to 1.


PROBIOTIC RECOMMENDATIONS

Probiotic-rich food examples:  Yogurt, Kefir, Kombucha, Kimchi, Miso, Gherkin Pickles, Fermented Cheeses, Apple Cider Vinegar

Probiotic supplement examples (over the counter):  VSL3, Vitacost 15-35, Garden of Life (varieties), Primal Blueprint - Primal Probiotics, Jarrow (varieties including Saccharomyces Boulardi), and many others.