For some, the idea of having trillions of bacteria living on and inside of you sounds like a nightmare. However, in reality, your body hosts a massive ecological community of bacteria known as the microbiome. Although your gut hosts both good and bad kinds, bacteria is not limited just to your intestinal tract. You have bacteria that is specific to other areas of your body including your mouth, skin, vagina, and placenta. In each of these areas, bacteria serve a specific action they are tasked to carry out. The microbiome is influenced by a variety of environmental factors such as aging, dietary habits, medications, disease, the environment, and stress. With 100s of billions of these cells on and inside of you, it is understandable why it’s important to maintain some balance in the microbiome system.
As already mentioned, there are some good forms of bacteria and bad forms of bacteria. Your relationship with your “good” bacteria is symbiotic – or mutually beneficial. As humans evolved, this partnership has also evolved. In addition to the many benefits already associated with a balanced microbiome, such as healthy immune function as well as digestive, oral, urogenital and heart health, emerging research suggests the microbiome may even influence blood sugar control, weight management, and mental health.