The microbiome is part of us: so what is it, why does it matter and how can we take better care of it?

The microbiome is part of us: so what is it, why does it matter and how can we take better care of it?

The living world is indeed a natural wonder.

Earth is rich in diversity and uniqueness, with a vast ecosystem of millions of plant and animal species working harmoniously for a common purpose; benefiting from all the nourishment this generous planet has to offer.

The delicate balance of Earth's ecosystems depends on the synergy between all its inhabitants. An invisible network that ties all life together.

It is the careful balance between host and inhabitant that enables Earth and all the organisms that live within it to not only survive, but thrive.

You and your planetary home are more alike than you might think.

Species diversity is not only an important concept for the health of the earth, but also an important concept for the health of you and me. Just like the Earth, we have a vast and invisible ecosystem that exists on almost every surface of our bodies.

This precious, life-giving ecosystem is called the human microbiome.

Your microbiome is made up of trillions of bacteria, viruses, fungi and other microscopic life that match human cells in a roughly 1:1 ratio - your microbiome isn't just a part of you, it's "Your other half". [1]

Also known as the "forgotten organ," your microbiome plays a role in fine-tuning your body's day-to-day functions, communicating with distant organs to influence many aspects of your health and well-being, including gut, skin, immune and brain health. plays a key role.

Just like the Earth, our health depends on "symbiosis," the mutually beneficial relationship between humans and the microbial cells in our internal ecosystem.

The opposite of "symbiosis" is "dysbiosis," an ancient Greek word that translates to "hard life," a medical term used to describe an imbalance of microorganisms. [2] An apt description of the health imbalances that go hand in hand with our lifestyle choices.

Dysregulation of the human microbiome has been linked to several modern health problems, including anxiety, obesity and acne. [3] Almost every day, new discoveries link our microbial balance to the health and function of our internal (and external) organs.

One thing is for sure, our health is closely related to our microbiome. When we make healthy choices, such as eating a variety of seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables, spending time in nature, connecting with friends and family, and hugging our pets, we can support health and balance within our microbiome , in return, it provides us with a variety of health benefits. [4] 

The bigger picture

At Life-Space, our mission is to break down the notion that the health of our bodies is separate from the health of the world we live in.Sometimes we need to look within for answers to outside problems. 

The largest contributors to some of today's major human and planetary health problems stem from dietary and environmental impacts, for which we humans are primarily responsible. [5], [6] The convenience and comfort that modern lifestyles bring to us comes at a price. Ecological challenges posed by highly refined food, pollution, chemicals, habitat and species loss may just be ecological solutions. [7]

The good news is that, given the opportunity, ecosystems can be both resilient and adaptive, quickly restoring balance after difficulties. Just take a break from poor lifestyle choices, be it lack of exercise or too much fast food, and your inner ecosystem will bounce back and find stability and balance again.

We have a responsibility to make healthy food, lifestyle and environmental choices to reduce imbalances in our internal and external ecosystems so they can adapt and recover.

What we put in our mouths is only part of the puzzle, but rest assured, small changes can make a big difference. 

So, what can you do to support the health of your microbiome and the planet?

We can all benefit from making healthier, greener choices. Some small but impactful changes you can make include:

Avoid single-use plastics: Microplastics are a major concern for environmental health, but also disrupt the balance of the gut microbiome. [8] Don't forget to bring reusable bags to the store (keep some in the car and at home) and opt for plastic-free bags whenever possible.

Hint:  Fresh fruits and veggies don’t need plastic!

Grow your own seasonal fruits and vegetables: Not only will this help reduce the environmental impact of food production, but you'll also benefit from the delicious and nutritious ingredients that fresh food has to offer.

Take time to reconnect with nature: who doesn't love the sound of crashing waves or the "earthy" smell of fresh rain soaking into the forest floor? Research shows that in addition to spending more time with family members and/or pets, spending time in nature can improve microbial balance and immune health. [9]

The more time we spend in nature, the more connected we become to our internal and external ecosystems, and the more we become aware of the everyday choices we make. 

What can we do to better the health of the planet and your microbiome?

At Life-Space, the microbiome is our lifetime business. We are a team of scientists, nutritionists, naturopaths and passionate individuals who share a common goal - to inform the world about the latest advances in microbial health and to share the beauty of science.

We are dedicated to finding solutions to human and planetary microbial problems.

In addition to offering a wide range of products to support health throughout the life cycle, we are delighted to partner with the Great Barrier Reef Foundation to support coral reef restoration projects. This project aims to investigate the benefits of using probiotics to restore health and restore the microbiome of coral reefs.

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[1] Abbott A. Scientists bust myth that our bodies have more bacteria than human cells. Nature. 2016 Jan 8;10.

[2] Prescott SL, Wegienka G, Logan AC, Katz DL. Dysbiotic drift and biopsychosocial medicine: how the microbiome links personal, public and planetary health. BioPsychoSocial medicine. 2018 Dec;12(1):1-2.

[3] Ahlawat S, Sharma KK. Gut–organ axis: a microbial outreach and networking. Letters in applied microbiology. 2021 Jun;72(6):636-68.

[4] Findley K, Williams DR, Grice EA, Bonham VL. Health disparities and the microbiome. Trends in microbiology. 2016 Nov 1;24(11):847-50.

[5] Prescott SL. A world of inflammation: the need for ecological solutions that co‐benefit people, place and planet. Veterinary Dermatology. 2021 Dec;32(6):539-e149.

[6] Relman DA. The human microbiome: ecosystem resilience and health. Nutrition reviews. 2012 Aug 1;70(suppl_1):S2-9.

[7] Bello MG, Knight R, Gilbert JA, Blaser MJ. Preserving microbial diversity. Science. 2018 Oct 5;362(6410):33-4.

[8] Lear G, Kingsbury JM, Franchini S, Gambarini V, Maday SD, Wallbank JA, Weaver L, Pantos O. Plastics and the microbiome: impacts and solutions. Environmental Microbiome. 2021 Dec;16(1):1-9.

[9] Sbihi H, Boutin RC, Cutler C, Suen M, Finlay BB, Turvey SE. Thinking bigger: How early‐life environmental exposures shape the gut microbiome and influence the development of asthma and allergic disease. Allergy. 2019 Nov;74(11):2103-15.


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