The microbiome is a community of bacteria that live in the gut. Nowadays, we know that over 1,000 different types of microbes are active in the human intestines. Thanks to major advances in technology, it is now possible to perform accurate analyses of the microbiome using 16S rRNA sequencing to identify these bacteria based on their DNA. In fact, the genes in the human microbiome outnumber the genes in the human body 100 to 1.
Gut bacteria are part of a big group of microbes that perform important jobs for the human body like digesting food and breaking down dietary fibre, synthesising vitamins and essential chemical compounds as well as protecting the body from inflammation. Some bacteria may participate in the development of certain illnesses but, for most species, only if they are present in abnormal amounts. When the microbiome is balanced, it is able to prevent the intrusion and overgrowth of potentially pathogenic bacteria, thus contributing to overall health.