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The Power of Your Microbiome

Our bodies co-evolved with a community of microbes within us known as the microbiome. Today, we’re exploring how our health and well-being depend on this underappreciated relationship.

Bacteria: From Villain to Hero

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We often think of bacteria as harmful invaders meant to be destroyed. While bacteria can make us sick, they also play an essential role in keeping us healthy.

This page explores our relationship with the communities of bacteria inside us and how we can use bacteria to solve some of the most pressing public health challenges.

"When we begin to understand our microbiomes, our symbionts, our inner ecosystems, our staggering multitudes–every walk bristles with opportunities for discovery."

— Ed Yong, Author of I Contain Multitudes


The Microbiome and Human Health

Nearly half the cells in our body are bacteria. These communities of microbes, known as the microbiome, are concentrated in our digestive system, but also live on our skin, in our lungs, and in other parts of the body. 

The microbiome is in constant communication with our body. It plays a vital in digesting our food, training our immune system, modulating brain activity, and assisting with other bodily functions that keep us alive. 

Because of its importance to our health, the microbiome is often referred to as a “hidden organ.”

Microbes as Medicine

We don’t yet fully appreciate the importance of bacteria to our health—but we’re getting there!

Instead of regarding bacteria as hostile and foreign nemeses, medical professionals are using them to address some of the most difficult-to-treat diseases of our time. This includes malnutrition, diabetes, cancer, and neuropsychiatric disorders.

Investigational fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) for recurrent C. difficile infections (CDI) is the most profound example of these treatments. Investigational FMT is a medical procedure in which stool and the bacteria it contains is transplanted from a healthy donor into a patient.

In research studies, fecal transplants resolve 80-90% of infections, showing efficacy where antibiotics have failed. In the past decade, investigational FMT has been used by physicians to care for C. difficile patients who exhausted all other medical options and remains an important treatment option today.

With such promising results, researchers worldwide are working to replicate the success of investigational FMT and C. difficile with other diseases.


The Microbiome in Other Animals

The microbiome plays a critical role in the lives of other animals, too. From conferring the ability to light up at night, to adapting to different diets, to controlling behavior, the powers of the microbiome are truly remarkable!

Help us build a world where the full potential of the microbiome radically improves health for all

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