Living in and on you, these tiny visitors are collectively referred to as your microbiota (my-cro-by-oh-ta).  This ecosystem, which is primarily comprised of friendly bacteria, can help you digest food, protect you from harmful organisms, and influence your mood and energy.

“We have a unique opportunity to redefine how health is experienced and health care is delivered,”

The majority of your microbiota sets up house in your digestive tract — specifically your colon. Its constituents have, for the most part, been around for millions of years co-existing with our ancestors here at home and around the globe.

Knowledge in this area of science is relatively new. There is much to learn but everyone agrees that there are incredible benefits to understanding the microbiota and its influence on us. Physicians see the microbiota as a catalyst for a paradigm shift in health and healthcare.

Using the microbiota to predict, prevent and treat disease

The Canadian Digestive Health Foundation (CDHF) believes that our ability to help establish, enrich, and protect a healthy microbiota is the key to lifelong health. “We have a unique opportunity to redefine how health is experienced and health care is delivered,” says Dr. Richard Fedorak, President of the CDHF. “The microbiota could very well prove to be the most powerful tool for predicting, preventing, and treating disease.”

We each have a microbiota that is as unique as our fingerprint. Certain elements of your microbiota may influence your likelihood to be obese or develop certain chronic illnesses such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, or inflammatory bowel disease.  Established during the first few years of life, your microbiota can be affected by environmental factors such as diet, habitat, who you share your life with (including pets!), and exposure to disease-causing agents.

Support your microbiota

Your body houses more microorganisms than there are stars in the Milky Way and connecting with them is essential. You can support your microbiota by maintaining a high-fiber diet (aim for at least 30g a day), experiencing the world without sterilizing it, taking pre- and probiotics and avoiding antibiotics unless they are absolutely necessary.

A healthy microbiota means a healthy you, so embrace the thought of being the ultimate host to the incredible world that lives within.