The microbiome is the ecological community of symbiotic, commensal and pathogenic microorganisms that inhabit our body. They outnumber our cells about 10 to 1 and together they are estimated to weigh anywhere from 0.2 to 1.4 kg, the majority inhabiting our gut. It has been called a ‘newly discovered organ’ as there has only been regonized since the 1990’s. Although this knowledge exists in indigenous and traditional medicine, western medicine has only recently realised the large impact it has on our wellbeing. Besides the obvious benefits for digestion, a healthy microbiome has many other benefits for the skin, urogenital tract and immune system.
Now researcher have also found hard evidence for a relationship between our micriobiome and our mental well-being. There are strong links between an abnormal microbiome and depression, anxiety and autism especially in the earlier developmental years. Although there is not yet enough evidence for the health effects of probiotics it might not be such bad idea to start looking into them.
Read more about the new research on the gut-brain link in the original article in Nature: