Microbial Diversity: An Ecosystem in Your Gut

Why Microbial Diversity Matters

The ecosystems that thrive are often diverse. Think of a coral reef. Coral reefs are full of creatures co-existing: corals, sponges, anemones, fish, sharks, seahorses, snails, and more. This incredible biodiversity makes the reef resilient.

Your gut may operate on a similar principle. Your gut microbiome is the largest group of microbes living in your body. There are trillions of microbes living in your gut, including bacteria, viruses, and fungi. These microbes assist your body with many essential functions, including breaking down fiber and other nondigestible carbohydrates, manufacturing certain vitamins and enzymes, and keeping potentially harmful gut microbes in check.

Improving the health of your gut isn’t necessarily about simply getting rid of microbes.  It’s about cultivating a balanced group of microbes that are “rich” and “even”  — or diverse. A diverse microbiome has many species and distribution of microbes across each group.

 

Losing and Regaining Diversity

There are many reasons why the microbiome can become more or less diverse.  

Diet is a frequent culprit. A typical Western diet is high in fats and sugars and low in fiber, which has been shown to decrease microbial diversity. While these foods might be delicious, you’re not able to provide your beneficial microbes with the food they need.

Antibiotics, while necessary to treat or prevent some infections, can also dramatically decrease your microbial diversity. Because they are unable to distinguish between helpful and harmful bacteria, they often eliminate species of helpful bacteria in your gut while they’re helping you recover.

Your activity level may also play a role in the microbial diversity of your gut. Bonus points for outdoor exercise where you’ll come into contact with other bacteria to further enrich your microbiome!

It’s hard (impossible) to know what your microbial diversity is just by looking in the mirror. If you’re curious about the diversity of your gut microbes, Explorer™ provides you with a microbial diversity score and research-based insights on how to increase it.

 

 

You can start exploring your microbiome with 50% off our Gut Explorer kits through the end of February 2019. Use the code UNLEASH at checkout. Click here to get your kit today.

If you’ve used Explorer and have a story to tell, we’d love to hear from you! Share your story on social tagging @ubiome and #UnleashYourExplorer. You’ll be entered for the chance to win 1 Gut Explorer kit each week during February and for the Grand Prize Drawing: a Gut Time Lapse set.*

 

**All posts must tag @uBiome and use #UnleashYourExplorer to be counted as a valid entry. The weekly contest will run Friday 2/1 to Thursday 2/21. Entries must be received by 11:59pm PST on Thursday 2/21. The Grand Prize contest will run Friday 2/1 – Thursday 2/28.  Entries must be received by 11:59 PST on Thursday 2/28 for the Grand Prize. Weekly winners will be announced at 10:00am PST on Friday 2/22. The Grand Prize winner will be announced by 10:00am PST on 3/1/2019.