Mitali Adlakha

Is a contributor to The Almost Doctor’s Channel.

Your Microbial Self: What Does Your Gut Tell You?

When most people think of bacteria within your body, what comes to their mind are these nasty unfriendly creatures that cause certain diseases and make them sick. However, that is true only to a certain extent and does not apply to all species of bacteria. Research has actually determined that there are trillions of beneficial bacteria inside our body that help us in performing life-sustaining functions at all times. These good bacteria indeed make up our internal ecosystem that we call the ‘microbiome’. The microbiome inhabits everything from our skin and genitals, to our mouths and eyes, and a vast majority of them reside in our intestines and are known as our ‘gut microbiota’. The total number of genes represented by our microbiome likely exceeds the number of our human genes by at least two orders of magnitude! Appropriately so, we are but an amalgamation of our human selves and our ‘microbial selves’. These diverse organisms in our microbiome govern nearly every function in the human body. Traditionally, it was thought that the gut microbiota effects are limited to the host’s digestive tract but more recent research has proven that the effects of the microbiome on our health are far-reaching, hence making it vital for our survival. You can think of the microbiome as an intricate web that connects to virtually all processes in our body. The current scientific...