While thinking about what you might eat later today and pondering how this may affect your GI tract, perhaps a recent editorial may provide some reassurance.
A recent editorial provides an insightful view regarding a ‘healthy’ microbiome. Despite all of the publications on this subject (and the numerous posts on this blog), there is not a one-size fits all microbiome.
Here’s the link “No Healthy Microbiome” and an excerpt:
These microscopic partners help us by digesting our food, training our immune systems and crowding out other harmful microbes that could cause disease. In return, everything from the food we eat to the medicines we take can shape our microbial communities — with important implications for our health. Studies have found that changes in our microbiome accompany medical problems from obesity to diabetes to colon cancer.
As these correlations have unfurled, so has the hope that we might fix these ailments by shunting our bugs toward healthier states. The gigantic probiotics industry certainly wants you to think that, although there is little evidence that swallowing a few billion yogurt-borne bacteria has more than a small impact on the trillions in our guts….
But how can you tell when it needs replacing? A bloom of C. difficile is an obvious problem, but most other communities are not so easily classified. The microbiome is a teeming collection of thousands of species, all constantly competing with one another, negotiating with their host, evolving, changing. While your genome is the same as it was last year, your microbiome has shifted since your last meal or sunrise.
We need to start thinking about it as an ecosystem, like a rain forest or grassland, with all the complexities that entails. And just as the gorillas and leopards of African forests differ from the wolves and moose of American ones, so, too, do microbiomes vary around the world.