What Is the Human Microbiome?

The human microbiome refers to the microorganisms (microbes) that live in and on human beings. It is often considered equivalent to the human genome in terms of its importance to human health.

Microbiome Definition

Microbiome is a collection of microorganisms that live in a specific environment. These microorganisms include:

  • Bacteria
  • Fungi
  • Protozoa
  • Viruses

The human microbiome was first recognized in the 1990s. Each human body is home to trillions of microbes, most of which live in the gut. These microbes are crucial to human development, immunity, and nutritional status.

Microbial cells are only about 1/10 to 1/100 of the size of a typical human cell. Yet in a healthy human adult, the number of microbes often outweighs the number of cells 10 to one.

Meanwhile, for humans, the microbiome may weigh up to 5 lbs. Research also shows that the number of genes in the human microbiome is roughly 200 times the number of those in the human genome.

Microbiome and Human Health

The microbiome helps humans in a variety of ways, including:

  • Food digestion and nutrient absorption
  • Immune system regulation
  • Protection against bacteria-causing disease

The microbiome also produces several key vitamins, including:

  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamine): Boosts the digestive and immune systems; vitamin B1 has been shown to help treat poor appetite and other digestive problems, along with diabetic nerve pain, heart disease, and assorted immune system issues.
  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): Helps the body convert carbohydrates, fats, and proteins into energy and enables the body to use oxygen.
  • Vitamin B12: Supports the formation of red blood cells, as well as the body's neurologic function and DNA synthesis.
  • Vitamin K: Promotes blood clotting.

Microbiome Dysfunction

Disease-causing microbes sometimes accumulate in the G.I. tract over time. It believed that the pathogens’ ability to dysregulate (unfavorably regulate) gene transcription, translation, and human metabolic processes causes a catastrophic failure of the immune system. In turn, this leads to the immune system attacking its own tissues and organs.  Tissue destruction is known as autoimmune disease.

One’s family history of autoimmune disease(s) is also believed to be inherited from a familial microbiome, not a familial genome. Essentially, it’s your microbial genes that are affecting your health rather than you own human genes. Several specific autoimmune diseases have been linked to microbiome dysfunction, and these diseases include:

  • Diabetes: Leads to high blood glucose, making a person more prone to heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, nerve damage, and other health problems. Diabetes occurs when the pancreas fails to produce sufficient insulin for the body or when the body no longer responds to insulin.
  • Fibromyalgia: Causes musculoskeletal pain, as well as fatigue, memory issues, mood swings, and sleep problems. There is no known cause of fibromyalgia, but some researchers indicate that the condition may be related to genetics, infection, or physical or emotional trauma.
  • Muscular Dystrophy: Results in weakness or loss of muscle mass. Muscular dystrophy occurs when abnormal genes interrupt the production of proteins that promote healthy muscle development. Muscular dystrophy symptoms generally begin in childhood, and there is no known cure for this condition.
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS): Disables the central nervous system and interrupts the flow of information in the brain and between the body and brain. MS causes inflammation that damages myelin, a fatty substance that insulates nerve fibers and supports the transmission of nerve impulses.

Research into the microbiome is ongoing, and studies show the gut microbiome is closely linked to virtually every other system in the body. To find out more about supplements to support the human microbiome, visit Sovereign Laboratories.