The collective genomes of microorganisms and the environment in which they live and interact on and inside the body.
Diverse ecological community of commensal, symbiotic, and pathogenic microorganisms that literally share our body space, including bacteria, archaea, protists, fungi, and viruses.
Collection of viruses, including bacteria viruses (bacteriophage), that colonize every niche in the body. Bacteriophages are particularly important for maintaining a healthy microbiota.
Bacterial viruses that infect specific species of bacteria thus helping maintain healthy microbial populations in and on our body.
Collection of fungi, including yeasts, that are present in the gut and other areas of the body.
Collection of parasites, including protozoa and worms, that are present in the gut and other areas of the body.
A type of single-celled organisms present in the gut.
Specialized plant fibers that feed and stimulate growth of beneficial bacteria.
Live bacteria that provide numerous health benefits.
Combination of prebiotics and probiotics.
The genes and genomes of the microbiota, as well as the products of the microbiota and the host environment. Short-chain fatty acids, cell components, and peptides that are created when probiotics metabolize prebiotics. Research indicates postbiotics support health in ways such as reducing inflammation, increasing metabolism, improving the immune system, promoting motility, increasing calcium absorption, and supporting neurotransmitters important to mental health.
The number of different species of microbes. In most cases, a greater diversity of microbes is an indicator of increased health.
A lack of microbial diversity, or imbalance of microbes in an environment.
An association of two organisms that enhances the life processes of both.
For decades, antibiotics have been used because of their effectiveness in killing bacteria and fungi. However, antibiotics are indiscriminate and kill beneficial bacteria in addition to harmful bacteria. Over time, bacteria and fungi evolve and mutate in order to survive, making antibiotics less effective in treating them and creating challenges in modern medical care.
Just as changes in the environment and population have caused extinction of various plants and animal species, changes in the environment as well as changes to our diet and lifestyle are resulting in extinction of microbes that are beneficial to human health.