The human microbiome is defined as the collection of microbes - bacteria, viruses, and single-cell eukaryotes - that inhabits the human body. Microbes in a healthy human adult are estimated to outnumber human cells by a ratio of ten to one. Even though microbial cells are only one-tenth to one-hundredth the size of a human cell, they may account for up to five pounds of adult body weight.
Although bacteria are often associated with infections, the bacteria that colonize the surface and insides of our bodies are essential for life. We are dependent on these bacteria to help digest our food, produce certain vitamins, regulate our immune system, and keep us healthy by protecting us against disease-causing bacteria.
It has long been known that bacteria are involved in certain body processes, such as digesting food and producing vitamins, but the microbiome appears to have a much broader impact on our health than was previously realized. The community of microbes in an individual may influence the susceptibility to certain infectious diseases, as well as contribute to disorders such as obesity and diabetes.
It may also contribute to the development of some chronic illnesses of the gastrointestinal system such as Crohn's disease and irritable bowel syndrome. Some collections of microbes can determine how one responds to a particular drug treatment. The microbiome of the mother may even affect the health of her children.
A healthy, thriving microbiome lowers your risk of certain diseases and will improve quality of life. Dr. Raath is specially trained to assist patients to develop and improve their gut health, thereby improving overall health.