The Role of Microbiome

As our body develops through aging and changes in environment from day to day, so does our bacteria, genes and hormone control. The microbiome are a group of microbes that are present within our body to help us adjust to environmental and physiological changes. They make up approximately 1-3% of our body mass and begin to colonise on the first day of birth and have adapted and changed with respect to our lifestyle changes, for example when we are exposed to illness, disease, stress and most importantly our changes in nutritional need. More drastic adaptations occur when our body goes through puberty, pregnancy or menopause due the large hormonal shift. However, since this microbes inside our body play such mechanistic roles in maintaining homeostasis, as we age, the microbe population does tend to decrease and this has been the spectrum of much scientific interest, whether microbiome changes increase the risk of diseases.

Scientists in the field have discovered some significant roles that the microbiome has in the body. It has been found to be essential for human development, immunity, nutritional needs and most recently scientists believe that having a dysfunctional microbiome may link to a variety of autoimmune diseases such as type I diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, muscular dystrophy and multiple sclerosis. The cause of such diseases have been hypothesised that the dysfunctional microbiome has accumulated over time, changing gene expression and metabolic processes within the body triggering an abnormal immune response. Moreover, environmental susceptibility to infectious diseases can contribute to microbiome changes and create chronic illnesses of the GIT, for example Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Due to such importance of the uprising discovering of the microbiome, researchers have been and are continuing to map the human microbiome to provide possible treatment programs and to find causes for certain diseases. By mapping the microbiome map, it enables us to figure out which are the “good” and “bad” bacteria that can either protect or harm us.

As many attempts to mapping have been done, a great obstacle lies in between the end of mapping finish line and of course, scientists walking the map. The microbiome variability between individuals have been the greatest obstacle as there can be so many different things such as environment and genetics that most definitely varies from person to person. The microbes will vary with gender, diet, climate, age, hygiene, occupation, social background; you name it. Whatever happens in our lives, the microbiome will walk together with us. Therefore, if we are able to fully map the microbiome pathway it can give us a clear indication on the biochemical pathways that are also varied through our physiological changes.

Since our body is large with many biochemical reactions continually running from seconds to seconds, so does our microbiome. The bacteria variety within our microbiota is large with many different types specifying to a particular type of disease. For example, type II diabetes are associated with bacteroides and ruminococcus species and very severe types of type II diabetes are considered to be associated with bacteria such as faecalibacterium praunitzii and bidiobacterium.  

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