Down in our digestive tracts is a subset of the microbiome called gut bacteria or the gut microbiome. Understanding how the gut microbiome works is crucial to understanding how nutrition affects our bodies as a whole.
As part of the Human Microbiome Project, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that:
- Fat and fiber can affect the makeup of our microbiome.
- Red meat can cause the gut microbiome to form a compound with ties to cardiovascular disease.
- Gut microbiome shifts can affect colon cancer development.
- The gut microbiome has its own circadian rhythm, which can be affected by fat in our diets. It can even influence our own circadian rhythms.
- Crohn’s disease can be detected early by monitoring the gut microbiome.
Another notable aspect of the microbiome is that it belongs to you only. A study found that it could detect a person's microbiome on their belongings, as "microbial communities are constantly being transferred between surfaces."
For more information on the human microbiome, check out the official NIH page on the Human Microbiome Project.