The Microbiome Everyone Isn’t Talking About…But Should Be
I love watching trends. One second no one knows what a food, let’s say, quinoa, is and the next everywhere you turn there’s something with quinoa — including a Super Bowl commercial.
One current trend I’m seeing is a lot of information (and misinformation) about our bodies’ microbiome – mostly our gut biome. I’m sure you’ve seen a sensational headline or two – and that always bugs me because it desensitizes us to something that actually can be truly great!
Ultimately, there is A LOT of incredible information from balanced, credible studies about microbiome that we can capitalize on for our health.
Our microbiome is made of microbes, which are “the single-celled organisms—bacteria, viruses, fungi, yeasts—that exist inside us and on the surface of our bodies. They are not us, technically speaking, but they are vitally important to our health and completely necessary to our existence. Think of microbes as your roommates.” (SuperLife, pg. 35). Read more on your body’s microbiome throughout the book.
The one thing that surprises me is the spotlight currently on only GUT microbiome, as if that’s the only area of your body that has microbiome living in it.
Your body is covered in microbes—inside and out!
In fact, scientists are finding thousands of species of microbes in everything from your belly button to your ears. And they are all radically different.
The new research you’ll see coming will move from “describing” what the different microbes on our bodies are and get to the really cool stuff — how microbes function and what their relationship is with our body.
We actually all have a lot of skin microbes. The hundreds of species of good bacteria on our skin protect us by eating bad bacteria before they can penetrate our defenses.
By the way, with that skin function in mind, go easy with the Purell and hand sanitizers. Yes, they kill germs, but you’re killing the good bugs on your skin you need as well.
Your skin is your largest organ and it’s the piece of you that makes direct contact with the outside world.
But hardly any companies in the industry consider the friendly bacteria on your skin, which includes an astonishing variety of 1000 species from 19 phyla, at an estimated count of 50 million individual microorganisms per square inch.
Note: Your mucous membranes and epithelial tissue found throughout the orifices of the body (nose, ears, etc.) are actually extensions of the skin and require their own friendly flora balance.
Given these quick facts, I would argue that we should consider keeping our skin as healthy and vibrant as we possibly can. And that doesn’t mean expensive cosmetics and creams or useless machines that simply give the illusion of healthy skin. It means doing a few simple things to help support healthy skin and skin microbes.
“Our skin isn’t just a cosmetic covering — it’s the first line of our defense in our immune system” (SuperLife, 55). So make it a priority to take care of your skin and support healthy skin microbes!