The gut-brain connection in Parkinson's disease
Our microbiome is referring to the invisible, living creatures that are part of our entire body that are not human and they cover us from the top of our head to the tip of our toes, all external structures of our body have microbes. THat in cludes your skin, your nose, your mouth, inside a woman's vagina, and our intestines. Our intestines is a tube that starts at the mouth and ends at the anus actually face outward. That is where we interact with the outside world. That is where we are most exposed. The depeest parts of our body that we desribe as our bowels are actually outward-facing. That is where most of our microbes lives. These microbes lives mostly inside of our colon, which is our large intestine. The estimates are that we have about 40 trillion of these microbes. Now to put that into perspective. That is the more than the number of human cells that we have. You are less than 50% human. More than 50% of your cells come from these micrboes. When we zoom in on these specific types of microbes, it is interesting to think about this way but this is a fact. Your gut is an ecosystem in teh same way that you would think of the Amazon rainforest or the Great Barrier Reef. There is a harmony and balance that exists among the life within that ecosystem. THat incluees 5 types of microbes:
1. bacteria - these are the dominant ones i.e. E. coli, Salmonella, Shigella. It turns out that most o fthese bacteria are our friends. They are there for a reason. They are trying to help us.
2. fungi - aka. yeast. e.g. candida
3. archaea - teh first life that we detected on this planet was from a dig site in Greenland. It's from 4 billion years ago. They were archaea. We believe that archaea are the first life on this planet. They are hardy. They are resilient. They are not going anywhere. Global warming can occur. We could have nuclear war and there would still be archaea on this planet. You will find them at the bottom of the ocean in a rift vent. You will find them inside of a volcano. You will find them the friendly confines of your colon! The archaea are part of this balance.
4. parasites - not everyone has parasites but more people have parasites than they would realize
5. viruses - viruses are weird. they're not even alive. they're just basically DNA or RNA structures that can affect adn influence how biological processes work. So, e.g. COVID-19 is not living. It's a virus. That virus can affect us. So, we have viruses that are part of us and they are part of the balance too. THey help to maintain the balance in our microbiome and they're not necessarily problematic. They are contributing to our gut health.
The gut microbiome is the engine for human health.