What is the gut microbiome and why is it important for wellness?

The gut microbiome, as defined by molecular biologist Joshua Lederberg, consist of all microorganisms and their collective genetic material residing in the gastro intestinal tract (GIT), including bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and fungi. The gut microbiota is comprised of all the bacteria, commensal, and pathogenic. The gut microbiota is the focus of the Biomesight microbiome test.

Over the past 2 decades the gut microbiota has been explored for potential gut microbe–host interactions including the impact on metabolism, immune, and neuroendocrine responses. The microbiome plays an important role in nutrient and mineral absorption, synthesis of enzymes, vitamins and amino acids, and production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). The fermentation byproducts acetate, propionate, and butyrate are important for gut health and provide energy for epithelial cells (cells lining the gastro intestinal tract), enhance epithelial barrier integrity, and provide immunomodulation and protection against pathogens.

Researchers are exploring bacterial gene function and the corresponding role in human health and metabolism, with strong correlations found in conditions ranging from obesity, diabetes, autism, anxiety and depression, auto immune conditions, lowered immune function, general well-being, brain function as well as gastrointestinal disorders such as IBS, IBD, Crohns and collitis.

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