You might say 2014 has been the Year of the Microbiome!
But what is it?? Microbiome literally means the "small living community" inside each of us. It's the word doctors and researchers use to describe your own, unique ecosystem. You see, we are not just "ourselves", we are also host to a universe of living organisms. And most of these guests take up residence in our gut.
We have about two pounds of bacteria living inside us. These bacteria are broken down into four families: the Actinobactera, Bacteroidetes, Firmicutes and Proteobacteria. http://www.nature.com/nri/journal/v13/n11/fig_tab/nri3535_F2.html
When these families live in balance, the human body functions better. When these families get knocked out of balance, diseases can be linked. "Dysbiosis" is when inflammatory bacteria outnumber beneficial bacteria. Whether the link to specific diseases is causal, or resultant, is yet to be established. But there's more and more evidence connecting an imbalanced microbiome to inflammation and diseases of "autoimmunity."
Here are some more specifics on what researchers found, when looking at the fecal bacteria in people with MS, and comparing them to healthy controls. This is Dr. Sushrit Jangi of Brigham and Women's Hospital discussing results of a recent study:
### Batyricimonas is also low in RA and inflammatory bowel disease.
4. Stay at a healthy weight. Obesity is linked to an unbalanced microbiome.
Let's be good hosts to the universe within us all!