Microbiome 101: A Brief

what is gut microbiome

Have you ever think about what microbiome is? Intestines are the largest organ in our body. The primary functions of small intestines are both mechanical and chemical digestion, and absorption of nutrients from food materials as well as water and electrolytes up to 90%. Large intestines are responsible for the absorption of water and electrolytes, production and also absorption of vitamins, and forming the feces while pushing it into the rectum. In addition to these functions, the gut takes place in various mechanisms with its secret weapon: bacterias.

World of Bacteria

The human body is home to a variety of microorganisms such as bacteria, archaea, viruses, and all of these living organisms that form the microbiota. The gut microbiome covers the whole gut microbiota with its entire genetic information and also the interactions between microbe-microbe and microbe-host that occur in the gut environment. In this environment, bacterias are the dominant organisms.

Everywhere is surrounded by bacteria. They’re in the air that we breathe, soil that we pass through, water that we drink, food that we consume, all of the things that we touch, the people around us, and lastly us… Our body is a home for bacteria and they have very important responsibilities.

According to studies, the number of human cells is 3.0·1013 while the number of bacteria is 3.8·1013. These bacterias reside in many parts of our body but most of them live in our gut. So, they promote the importance of the gut in health and disease. The gut has already been referred to as the second brain thanks to their work.

The gut microbiome starts to form maybe even before we are born. A variety of factors are effective to shape the microbiome.

Factors that Affect the Microbiome

-Genetics and epigenetics,

-Mother’s diet before and during pregnancy,

-Antibiotic usage of the mother during pregnancy or while giving birth,

-Type of delivery (vaginal birth, C-section),

-Feeding method (breastfeeding or formula feeding),


-Environmental factors,

-Stress levels,


-Usage of pharmaceuticals and antibiotics,

-Physical activity.

While we can’t have the power to change the first 6 factors, we’re still able to shape our gut microbiome with remained subjects. We have good reasons to take care of our gut microbiome health since they have beneficial effects on our overall health.

Main Function of Microbiome

-Digestion of food components and energy harvesting,

-Fermentation of indigestible food compounds,

-Synthesis of vitamins such as vitamin B, and K,

-Detoxification mechanism,

-Fighting pathogens,

-Supporting the intestinal barrier,

-Boosting the immunity,

-Affecting brain functions,

-Modulating mood and psychology.

It’s important to keep in mind that the effects of the microbiome on your health can be destructive as well as constructive. Because it’s in your hands to shape your microbes in a good way with a healthy lifestyle.

Nutrition can be the easiest solution to modulate your gut microbes since we eat in all circumstances. Our food is also their food. They basically use the compounds in the food that we eat. Thus, eating activity is beyond satiety or a social event. We have a population in our gut that we need to feed.


The Human Microbiota and Microbiome

Revised Estimates for the Number of Human and Bacteria Cells in the Body

Human Gut Microbiome: Function Matters

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