We are MORE microbiome than human cells.
The microbiome consists of complex interactions of bacteria, parasites and viruses, and we are the host. On a small scale, most organisms, such as bacteria, have viruses that infect them, and on a larger scale the same thing is true for the planet, in that case we are part of the microbiome, we are the bacteria, virus or parasite.
The infecting virus either causes death (cell death), or it can cause a symbiotic relationship. In some cases the infecting virus leads to increased health for both the host and the virus.
The number of organisms in and on the body are in the billions or trillions, with thousands of different species. The microbiome is poorly mapped out as of yet, and the symbiotic relationships are barely researched at all, the surface has been scratched but more research is needed. There is much to learn. Please park the idea of SYMBIOTIC relationships somewhere in your mind for now, it is important, but a bit hard to understand exactly how vital this symbiosis is for our wellbeing.
Money is involved in research, it has to be funded by someone or the research doesn’t happen, but that is not what I want to talk about, I want to help you find balance in your body, balance in health, and balance as a biological being on the planet.
The relatively small amount of research that has been done on the microbiome has given rise to a new line of business, the probiotics supplement industry. That is fine. But like I mentioned at the top of this post, it is best to get your health from natural sources, and to leave the supplementing and the medicating to when it is necessary (Like during a pandemic perhaps?)
The probiotics that you can buy at the store in a neat little pill has somewhere between 1 and 30 strands, or species, of healthy gut bacteria. Those are some of the strands of healthy bacteria that have been researched.
Compare that to hundreds if not thousands of strands of beneficial bacteria from FOOD. Again, to reiterate, our bodies are more microbiome than human cells, and this microbiome consist of thousands of different species. Not 1 to 30 different species.
Some foods consist of healthy microbiota, especially fermented foods.The number and species of probiotics is not spelled out on the food source, but it is higher in number than what is found in a supplement. So, kimchi, or sauerkraut, or miso, ( or whatever fermented food you like to eat and that is specific to your culture) have beneficial bacteria, and many of those are bacteria that have no name.
The reason for “no name” is only due to the research industry, and the funding, or lack thereof. These foods likely have more beneficial bacteria than a supplement.
Reach for natural sources as much as possible, because there is no adequate substitute for it. There is something called “prebiotic”. Prebiotics are even less researched than probiotics, but are possibly even more important.