peer tutoring, for free.
Free SAT® Prep, as part of a research study.
SAT® Bootcamps
Free SAT® Prep, as part of a research study.
A global network of volunteers.
Explore Tutors
A global network of volunteers.



The Microbiome

By Sowmiya T on July 4, 2024

Blog image
One of the greatest wonders of the human body is the microbiome. It is a collection that consists of trillions of various microorganisms (examples of which include bacteria, fungi and parasites). Microorganisms in the microbiome are concentrated in the large and small intestines but can be found throughout the body, including the gut. The microbiome is extremely important for the human body to function. Before we see how it contributes to a healthy individual, here are some fun facts about the microbiome:
  • Every person has an entirely unique network of microbiota that is dependent on their DNA.
  • A person’s first exposure to microorganisms is as an infant, during delivery in the birth canal and through the consumption of breast milk.
  • The microorganisms the infant is exposed to depends only on the species found in their mother.
  • Later on, environmental conditions and diet can develop one’s microbiome to be either beneficial to health or at greater risk for disease.

While the roles played by the microbiome in the body are still being uncovered through research, these are some processes in which the microbiome is helpful:
  • Immune system
  • Inflammatory homeostasis
  • Immune regulation in neonates and young children
  • Host nutrition

Here are two quick, yet insightful concepts to understand about the microbiome:
  1. The effect of dietary fiber on the intestinal microbes: We are often told that fiber is not broken down by digestive enzymes. This is true. The microbes in the gut metabolize it to yield short-chain fatty acids that protect one from diseases such as intestinal cancers as well as obesity. In specific, the production of butyrate is helpful in improving response to pathogens, reducing inflammation, and strengthening the cells lining the gut.
  2. The effect of probiotics on the microbiome: Probiotics are active microorganisms that can be consumed to colonize the gut and prevent the growth of pathogenic microbes. They may also restore the composition of the gut microbiome (if unbalanced) and introduce beneficial functions to gut microbes, thus improving the body’s immune response.

It is truly wonderful to witness the huge impact that such tiny organisms have in our well-being. Future advancements in microbiome research aims to mainly see how it can strengthen immunity, inflammatory responses, and gut-brain communication, as well as advance personalized medicine (Everyone’s microbiota is unique, remember?). If you are interested in this field, you can start by learning more about cellular biology. and the Biology Subworld has many resources to support this first step, through its tutoring sessions and certification opportunities! Check them out!

Thank you Sharon V for editing this article!

Sources: peer tutoring, for free.


About UsPartnershipsRoadmapCareersDonate


Terms & ConditionsPrivacy PolicyTrust & SafetyPress