Here are 5 of our favorite facts about the microbiome you may not have known.
1. There are as many bacterial cells in the gut microbiome as there are human cells in your entire body
It’s hard to see ourselves as something more than human. However, research says we’re as much human as we are bacteria—at least when it comes to the number of cells in our body.
It’s hard to know exactly how many bacterial cells are present in the average person’s gut microbiome, though recent estimates suggest the number is close to 10 trillion.
And that’s not even counting the bacteria that live on our skin and elsewhere.
2. The gut microbiome contains more than bacteria
A good look at the diversity of life in your gut reveals representatives from every domain of life. This includes:
- Fungi (eukaryotes)
- Bacteria (prokaryotes)
- Methanogens, which are microorganisms known for inhabiting some of the most hostile environments on earth (archaea)
Scientists have yet to characterize every organism present in the human microbiome. It’s clear, however that each of us hosts an ecosystem that’s alive with various forms of life.
3. Ancient medicine involved fecal transplants
The concept of engineering a healthy gut microbiome has a long history in human medicine.
The first record of a gut-microbiome transplantation dates back to the 4th century, wherein golden soup (also known as yellow soup) was used as a cure for food poisoning and diarrhea. The soup—developed and prescribed in China—used fecal matter as a primary ingredient.
Though they didn’t know the specifics of how it worked, the developers understood that diarrhea and food poisoning could signal an imbalance within the body and that this soup may help to restore it.
We know now that fecal transplants can cause a shift in the microbiome and—when done right—result in a healthier microbiome.
(Don’t worry, we won’t share the recipe.)
4. Your gut instincts may be more than a phrase
Mounting evidence suggests that a person’s health may be influenced by their gut microbiome.
Findings like these have prompted some scientists to refer to the gut microbiome and its relationship with the enteric nervous system (the network of nerves found in your stomach) as a second brain.
Because most of this evidence comes from studies done with mice, it’s still too early to definitively say how—or to what extent—bacteria affect human behaviors. The evidence so far, however, suggests your gut instincts may be more than just a phrase.
5. Over your lifetime, your microbiome evolves
Your gut microbiome matures and gathers a healthy diversity of bacterial species over time.
However, old age is also known to usher in a decline in gut microbial diversity.
Such a decrease is thought to contribute to various illnesses that are common in older age.
Researchers are hopeful that ongoing studies will help reveal which species of bacteria are beneficial for human health, ultimately leading to microbiome-focused therapies to help to protect us from illness.
Pendulum Glucose Control—A Step in the Right Direction
After a long and storied history—and now with an increasing amount of research—scientists are learning how to work with the gut microbiome to improve human health.
Pendulum’s Glucose Control is among the most recent innovations produced by this upsurge in research.
Learn more about Pendulum Glucose Control and how it can help to manage Type 2 diabetes.
To learn more about gut-microbiome basics, watch Pendulum’s “Microbiome 101” video.