Much has been written and said about the gut microbiome – the community of bacteria, viruses, fungi and fungi archaea that lives in our intestines. But the gut is not the only place where there is a microbiome.
There is the mouth, nose, skin, lungs, and genitals a microbiome of their own. And they all play an important role in our health.
Here is a brief introduction to each of them.
Arguably, this was the first microbiome discovered.
In the late 1600s, Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, a Dutch scientist, scraped the inside of his mouth and examined the material under a microscope. Yes he got “many living animals on a very small scale, moving very nicely”.
Today, we know that there are more than “animals”, as Van Leeuwenhoek called the bacteria, but also fungi and viruses.
This collection of microbes, among other things, helps each other digestion by breaking down complex carbohydrates into simpler sugars so that the gut can absorb them more easily.
As with all microbes, the oral microbiome competes with harmful bacteria for resources and space. When the balance of microorganisms in the mouth is disturbed, it can occur cavities, gum disease, and infections.
Good oral hygiene and a healthy diet it is possible to ensure that good microbes prevail.
Moving north, we find the nasal microbiomewhich helps filter and capture particles from the air we breathe.
Although the nasal microbiome over a hundred scats Among bacteria, just two to ten species make up 90 percent of the microbiome.
These bacteria have a symbiotic relationship – you scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours.
However, imbalances in the nasal microbiome can occur as a result of environmental exposures (such as air pollution), genetics, or problems with our immune system.
These imbalances are linked to conditions such as chronic sinusitis, nasal allergies, and a higher risk of respiratory infections.
A small study from Portugal found that wine tasters have less nasal bacteria and fewer different bacterial species than non-wine tasters. One of the researchers, Lucía Perez-Pardal, tell New Scientist that the alcohol molecule dehydrates bacteria.
“It removes water from their membranes, and they explode,” said Perez-Pardal. “If you kill the bacteria often, you don’t give enough time for repopulation.”
A complex community of microorganisms lives on the surface of our skin and in deeper layers.
The skin’s microbiome includes bacteria, fungi and viruses. These microorganisms play an important role i keep our skin healthy and protection against harmful bacteria.
A a study published earlier this yearyet to be peer reviewed, it was found that two bacterial species, Acnes cutibacterium and Staphylococcus epidermidis They have been linked to a decrease in collagen levels – the scaffolding that keeps your skin young-looking.
Expect new anti-aging treatments targeting these blemishes to hit the market soon.
It seems to have been the only part of the body that was long considered sterile microbiome too. The lung microbiome is not as diverse as the other biomes, consisting mostly of bacteria.
These bacteria are believed to come from the mouth and nose, making their way into the lungs when we inhale small amounts of oral and nasal secretions.
The lung microbiome plays a role in immune responses and respiratory health. Disrupting the lung microbiome can make us more susceptible to infections and respiratory diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and pneumonia.
Going further south, there is the vaginal microbiome in females and the penile microbiome in males.
In women, the vaginal microbiome mainly composed of bacteria, in particular Lactobacillus species. This microbiome helps maintain a healthy vagina by creating an acidic environment that prevents the growth of harmful bacteria and promotes a balanced microbial community.
When the vaginal microbiome is out of balance, it can lead to bacterial-like conditions vaginosis and yeast infections.
The IS penile microbiome in males it also contributes to the health of the genitals, although it is less studied.
Such conditions could urinary tract infections.
The IS gut microbiome is one of the most famous and influential microbiomes in our body. It is a large collection of microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, fungi and archaea.
The gut microbiome is essential to digestion, metabolism, and the development of our immune system. It helps break down complex carbohydrates, produces vitamins, including vitamin K and various B vitamins, and helps us absorb nutrients.
There are several ways to keep the gut microbiome healthy or to rebalance it after weaning. These include taking probiotics (beneficial bacteria) and prebiotics (fibres that feed the bacteria).
It can also be done with a faecal microbiota transplantation (transferring healthy microbiota from a donor to a recipient), also known as a lung transplant.
These biomes that our bodies are not isolated entities. They interact with each other in complex ways. For example, the oral and nasal microbiomes can influence the health of our respiratory system.
Disrupting the port’s microbiome can affect ours immune system and affect other biomes. The skin microbiome can interact with the genital microbiome and microbes from our environment.
Recognizing the interconnectedness of these biomes reminds us that our body is a holistic ecosystem where imbalances in one area can have ramifications throughout the entire microbial landscape.
Understanding these interactions it opens up new avenues to improve people’s health.