Microbes are everywhere. So much so that from thousands of degrees of lava to arctic ice and in the darkest corners of the deepest seas.
In fact, they are around us, omnipresent at any given moment. We simply cannot get rid of them completely, no matter what we do. For example, they are present on our hands, before we wash our hands, and even after we wash them.
It is needless to say, that they are present inside our bodies as well. What is rather more fascinating is the fact that they outnumber our body cells by one to ten.
But, not all microbes are harmful. The ones that are present in our gut, are mostly, rather, helpful in various body functions. And this healthy colony of microbes inside our gut is referred to as the gut microbiome.
But…What Is A MicroBiome?
A microbiome is a complete microbiota residing inside a host body. It not only comprises the number of microbes but also the tissues and fluids they reside in.
Alternatively, it is also referred to as the genetic material of all the microbes that live on or inside the human body, according to the definition given by the University of Washington.
How Do You Know About Them?
Recognizing the healthy microbes from the harmful ones is a crucial task. Since not all microbes are helpful in keeping our bodies healthy and fit, the need arises to better combat the harmful ones. But before we move to how they can be identified, it is important to understand how they co-exist in our body, with our immune system.
The COLD WAR
From the time, humans have existed, we have had a healthy pact with some of the species of bacterias, viruses, fungi, and protozoans. We provide them food and shelter and in return, they help us maintain healthy body functions.
Scientists and researchers have found that these microbes are not attacked by our immune system. So, does this mean, they are identified by our immune system? Maybe yes. In fact, some studies even prove that these microbes can communicate with our immune system and even brain, in some instances.
But. as soon as a species starts to outgrow abruptly, in comparison to others, our immune system takes up the charge to maintain the balance. It kills the excessive number of these microbes to keep the colony’s strength in control.
Since these microbes can communicate with the brain, it is believed that they can control the type of food our mind craves for. Simply put, if we keep on feeding greasy and oily food to our gut microbiome, it is very likely that our brain starts to crave for such food types. And it is needless to say, that these food items are not healthy.
Whereas, when we feed the healthy microbes that like green veggies and fibers, it is of course, beneficial for our bodies. So, there is a constant cold war going on inside our bodies between these microbes and our immune system. Each one is trying to take up the lead over the other and the immune system keeps a check on their colonial size.
The Gut Test To Reveal Microbiome Composition
Since these microbes occupy mostly the gut in our bodies, and it is the gut that is responsible for most of the early symptoms related to diseases, a gut test is performed to identify the microbial colony. The test is carried out by analyzing the stool that we excrete.
By carefully examining the stool of any person, an idea of the helpful and harmful microbes present in the body can be posed. These microbes can either be parasitic in nature or can be assisting with various body functions such as digestion.
It has also been established that early symptoms of many chronic diseases such as schizophrenia, Parkinson’s disease, and even cancer, evolve from the gut. Identifying these early symptoms can help cure the disease before they can affect the body.
But, these tests are not that accurate and have limitations to the data they produce. According to the article https://microbeformulas.com/blogs/microbe-formulas/are-gut-microbiome-tests-accurate-or-worth-it, these tests are only worth if, there are some symptoms of the presence of harmful bacteria and other microbes. For example, there can be stomach disorders due to excessive e-Coli bacteria present in the intestines.
So, before you go for a gut test, you should consult your doctor for a thorough analysis. Your doctor can guide is it is the microbial colony residing in your body that’s causing you the problem or something else.
How Can You Maintain A Healthy Gut Microbiome
In order to maintain a healthy gut microbiome, you need to understand how they communicate with our body and immune system.
Communication With The Immune System
The microbes are not all new to our body systems. In fact, as soon as we are born, we are attacked by millions and billions of these microbes. It takes almost two years for a human baby to establish immunity against these microbes.
And all of this possible because they can communicate with the immune system. These microbes secrete chemicals that act as friendly signals for the immunity agents. In fact, some researchers have found out that some of the evolved species of these microbes can even secrete serotonin.
Serotonin is of the most crucial enzymes that help in the communication of signals through the primary nervous system. And since they can secrete serotonin, they can communicate with the brain directly, telling what needs to be done.
Maintaining The Health
When these microbes communicate with our nervous system, they send signals of what they want. Having said that, a microbial colony that is causing harm to your body can be identified by the cravings you have for the type of food.
A healthy colony would, of course, tell the brain that your body needs more healthy foods such as green vegetables and healthy nutrients. In other words, if you feel an affinity to eat more and more unhealthy foods, it means your gut microbiome is going out of balance. And you need to eat more healthy food in order to put it back to the right balance.
It is only with a clear understanding of these helpful microbes present in our body that we can maintain our health in its best state.