Microbiome is a Part of Us: So, what is it, why is it important and how can we take better care of it?
The living world truly is a natural wonder.
Rich in diversity and uniqueness, earth is home to a vast ecosystem made up of millions of species of flora and fauna, working in harmony towards a common goal; to benefit from all the nourishment this generous planet has to offer.
The delicate balance of earth’s ecosystem relies on a synergy between all its inhabitants. An invisible web which ties all life together.
It is the achievement of careful balance between giving and receiving, amongst host and inhabitant, that allows the planet and all that live within it, to not only survive but thrive.
You and your planetary home are more alike than you might think.
Species diversity is not only an important concept for the health of the planet, but also the health of you and me. Just like earth, we are host to a vast, yet invisible ecosystem that inhabits almost every surface of our body.
This precious, life-giving ecosystem is known as the human microbiome.
Your microbiome is made up of trillions of bacteria, viruses, fungi and other microscopic life that together match human cells at a rate of approximately 1:1 – your microbiome is more than part of you, it is essentially ‘your other half’.
Also referred to as ‘the forgotten organ’, your microbiome plays a key role in fine-tuning the daily operations your body, communicating with distant organs to influence many aspects of your health and wellbeing, including gut, skin, immune and brain health.
As with earth, our health relies on a ‘symbiosis’ within our internal ecosystem, that is, a mutually beneficial relationship between human and microbial cells.
The opposite of ‘symbiosis’ is ‘dysbiosis’, an ancient Greek word that translates to “difficult living” and a medical term used to describe microbial imbalance. A fitting description for a health imbalance so closely linked to our lifestyle choices.
Dysbiosis of the human microbiome has been associated with several modern-day health concerns, including anxiety, obesity and acne, to name a few. It seems as if almost every day there is a new discovery linking our microbial balance to the health and function of our internal (and external) organs.
One thing is for certain, our health is intimately linked to our microbiome. When we make healthy choices, such as eating a variety of seasonal, fresh fruits and vegetables, spend time in nature, connect with friends and family and cuddle our pets, we can support health and balance within our microbiome and in return, it provides us with a raft of health benefits. 
The bigger picture
At Life-Space our mission is to break down the notion that the health of our body is separate to the health of the world we live in.
Sometimes we need to look within for answers to outside problems.
The biggest contributors to some of today’s leading human and planetary health concerns stem from dietary and environmental influence, for which us humans are primarily accountable.,  While the modern-day lifestyle has brought us convenience and comfort, it has come at a cost. Highly refined foods, pollution, chemicals, loss of habitat and species make for ecological challenges that may only have ecological solutions.
The good news is that ecosystems can be both resilient and adaptable, quickly returning to balance after hardship - if only given the chance. Just a short break from poor lifestyle choices, whether it be a lack of exercise or too much fast-food, and your inner ecosystem can bounce back and once again find stability and balance.
It is up to us to make healthy food, lifestyle and environmental choices that reduce imbalances in our internal and external ecosystems, allowing them to adapt and recover.
What we put in our mouth is only a part of the puzzle, but rest assured, small changes can make a big difference.
So, what can you do to support the health of your microbiome and the planet?
We can all benefit from making healthier and more ecologically friendly choices. Some small but impactful changes you can make include:
- Avoid single-use plastics: Microplastics are a major concern for environmental health but can also disturb the balance of your gut microbiome. Don’t forget to bring your reusable bags to the shops (keep a few in the car and at home) and choose plastic-free options whenever you can.
Hint: Fresh fruits and veggies don’t need plastic!
- Grow your own seasonal fruits and veggies: Not only can this help reduce the environmental impact of food production, but you can also benefit from the delicious taste and nutrient content, that fresh food has to offer.
- Take the time to re-connect to nature: Who doesn’t love the sound of waves crashing or the ‘earthy’ smells from fresh rain soaking into the forest floor? Research has shown that spending time in nature, in addition to spending more time connecting with family and/or pets, is associated with improved microbial balance and immune health.
The more time we spend in nature, the more connected we are to our internal and external ecosystems, the more conscious we can become of the daily choices we make.
What can we do to better the health of the planet and your microbiome?
At Life-Space, the microbiome is our life’s work. We are a team made up of scientists, nutritionists, naturopaths and passionate people with a common goal – to educate the world on the latest advances in microbial health and to share the beauty of science.
We are dedicated to finding solutions to microbial problems, both human and planetary.
In addition to providing a large range of products to support health across the lifespan, we are thrilled to be partnering with the Great Barrier Reef Foundation to support the Coral Reef Resilience Project. This project aims to investigate the benefits of using probiotics to restore health and resilience to the coral reef microbiome.
 Abbott A. Scientists bust myth that our bodies have more bacteria than human cells. Nature. 2016 Jan 8;10.
 Prescott SL, Wegienka G, Logan AC, Katz DL. Dysbiotic drift and biopsychosocial medicine: how the microbiome links personal, public and planetary health. BioPsychoSocial medicine. 2018 Dec;12(1):1-2.
 Ahlawat S, Sharma KK. Gut–organ axis: a microbial outreach and networking. Letters in applied microbiology. 2021 Jun;72(6):636-68.
 Findley K, Williams DR, Grice EA, Bonham VL. Health disparities and the microbiome. Trends in microbiology. 2016 Nov 1;24(11):847-50.
 Prescott SL. A world of inflammation: the need for ecological solutions that co‐benefit people, place and planet. Veterinary Dermatology. 2021 Dec;32(6):539-e149.
 Relman DA. The human microbiome: ecosystem resilience and health. Nutrition reviews. 2012 Aug 1;70(suppl_1):S2-9.
 Bello MG, Knight R, Gilbert JA, Blaser MJ. Preserving microbial diversity. Science. 2018 Oct 5;362(6410):33-4.
 Lear G, Kingsbury JM, Franchini S, Gambarini V, Maday SD, Wallbank JA, Weaver L, Pantos O. Plastics and the microbiome: impacts and solutions. Environmental Microbiome. 2021 Dec;16(1):1-9.
 Sbihi H, Boutin RC, Cutler C, Suen M, Finlay BB, Turvey SE. Thinking bigger: How early‐life environmental exposures shape the gut microbiome and influence the development of asthma and allergic disease. Allergy. 2019 Nov;74(11):2103-15.