About a year ago I started to see a new word being used in many health, wellness, beauty, and skincare companies. I thought I was up on all the buzz words related to the body, but clearly, I wasn’t because I had no clue what the term “microbiome” meant. The term popped out of nowhere and all of a sudden it was everywhere. From medical journals to labels on lotion bottles at the drug store- I couldn’t stop seeing the term in phrases like “protecting your microbiome” and “cultivating the microbiome.”
I knew the term was related to something microbial from the first part of the word “micro” and some type of environment where living things fostered a community based on the second part of the word “biome.” But how it related to gut, skin and vaginal health along with being tied to diseases, I had absolutely no clue. At this point, I was curious to figure out why everyone kept talking about and why it vital to our overall health.
The first place I turned was where I turn for many scientific findings, Harvard. According to a science journal from Harvard, “the microbiome consists of trillions of microorganisms (also called microbiota or microbes) of thousands of different species which include not only bacteria but fungi, parasites, and viruses. In a healthy person, these “bugs” coexist peacefully, with the largest numbers found in the small and large intestines but also throughout the body. The microbiome is even labeled a supporting organ because it plays so many key roles in promoting the smooth daily operations of the human body.”
More interestingly I learned that each person has an entirely unique network of microbiota that is originally determined by one’s DNA and the exact microorganisms that are found in our bodies are directly correlated to our mothers. During birth, we are exposed to these microorganisms in the birth canal and through our mother’s breast milk. As we get older, environment and diet cand change the makeup of our microbiome which can either become harmful or beneficial to our health. The majority of the 100 trillion microbes that make up the microbiome live in our gut, but there are also compartments of the microbiome in our vaginal walls and skin.
So why does everyone keep talking about it? Well the microbiome is essentially an organ we cannot survive without. It protects us against pathogens, synthesizes vitamins, develops the immune system, promotes intestinal angiogenesis, promotes fat storage, produces SCFA production by fermentation of dietary fiber and is the modulation of the central nervous system. If our symbiosis or harmony of good and bad bacteria is off in the microbiome we become suspect to a variety of diseases such as IBS, vaginosis, eczema and even depression.
That’s why everyone keeps talking about it. It literally ties into every aspect of our bodily functions. Besides diet, you can protect and heal your microbiome through prebiotics and probiotics. I had always taken a probiotic for my gut health, but after researching what the microbiome actually does I didn’t realize that taking a probiotic had so many positive side effects besides just regulating your poop. More importantly, researching the microbiome made me realize that I was ignoring my vaginal health. If I was spending so much time cultivating my gut health with foods and supplements, I needed to be doing the same for my vaginal health.
Most probiotics on the market only support your gut health. Vaginal specific probiotics carry the strains of bacteria that are currently living in your vagina. I came across Good Girl Probiotics from Love Wellness and decided to give it a try. Good Girl Probiotics help feed The bacteria in the vaginal microbiome that create an acidic environment that keeps you safe from infections and irritations. Taking Good Girl Probiotics helps maintain your vaginal flora and acidic pH with 8 strains of lactobacilli in its formulation. After a few months of taking the probiotics, I definitely felt “fresher” and was less susceptible to getting irritated by things.
Although the term “microbiome” has been commercialized, at the end of the day, it’s bringing awareness to one of the most important functions in the body. So next time you are bombarded with the word take it as a reminder to take care of yourself from the inside out.