The microbiome are the communities of microorganisms, collectively called microbiota they consist of bacteria, fungi and viruses. They live on and inside the host and carry out many essential roles.
Just like your heart and lungs, balance in microbiome is equally important. When the stomach and small intestine can’t digest the food we eat, gut microbes lend a helping hand, ensuring we get the required nutrients. Following are some essential functions of microbiota.
1. Produce vitamins B, B 12, K, thiamine, riboflavin
2. Protecting from infections and chronic inflammation
3. Helps strengthen immunity
4. Breaking down food, drugs ,toxins
Emergence of new model for infectious diseases
Traditionally a “disease triangle ” was used by scientists to represent the roles of host, pathogen, and environment for the spread of disease. The following picture describe the Disease Triangle.
Research institutes in France, Germany, and the United States, broadened the concept and included microbiome as the fourth important factor in spreading of disease, they propose that triangle concept is “overly simplified”.
Hence, the researchers proposed a “disease pyramid,” which is a new model of spreading of disease that consists of interactions between the host, the pathogen, the environment, and the fourth element: microbiome.
” We are slowly beginning to understand microorganisms role in health prophylaxis (action taken to prevent disease) and how they interact, for instance, with, environment, microbiome, pathogens, and host,” describes Dr. Adeline Loyau of the Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries in Germany.
Some interesting facts:
- Our gut contains around 100 trillion microorganisms.
- They weigh around 2 kgs.
- Our gut alone contains up to 1,000 different species of bacteria, which researchers have shown to be important in many ways for health.
- Your microbiota helps in immunity even before you breastfeed.
- Researchers have shown that bacteria are important in many ways for health.
- Obese people have different microorganisms compared to lean people.
- Many of them metabolize food that we can’t digest on our own.
How climate impacts microbiome?
Changes in outer environment can affect the microbiome. The microbiota maintains a fine equilibrium of various bacterial species, this balance protects an organism from infection. On the other hand, change in the climate can imbalance it.
“Balance in microbiome can protect us against infection in every environment,” explains Adriana P. Bernardo-Cravo, of the Université de Toulouse, France, and the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, Germany.
Temperature an important factor:
Especially temperature effects microbiome composition significantly. This effect can be greater in amphibians as they, as ectotherms, depend more and more on external temperature to regulate functions of their body. For example, fungal disease, chytridiomycosis, that affects amphibians, consisting frogs.
However, amphibians with a more diverse microbiota are quite immune to this disease, antifungal bacteria on the skin can fight against it. Climate change will shift the distribution of this disease and would further cause reduction of amphibians.
The change in climate will not only impact wildlife but disrupting any one of the four microbiome, environment, host and pathogen could lead to emergence of new diseases that could affect humans as well.
You may be surprised to know how lack of or overpopulation of specific bacteria can make you healthy or unhealthy. Following are some of the health risks.
How to Balance Microbiome?
However, we can balance our Microbiome by following some tips.
- Eating healthy is always recommended as your gut microbiome responds to your food.
- Exercise always helps overall balance of microbiota it has been seen people who exercise have lesser chances of infections. A study by MNT June 2014.