Summary of “Is your gut microbiome the key to health and happiness?”

The gut microbiome is a vast ecosystem of organisms such as bacteria, yeasts, fungi, viruses and protozoans that live in our digestive pipes, which collectively weigh up to 2kg. It is increasingly treated by scientists as an organ in its own right.
The hope is that it may one day be possible to diagnose some brain diseases and mental health problems by analysing gut bacteria, and to treat them – or at least augment the effects of drug treatments – with specific bacteria.
Over the past decade, research has suggested the gut microbiome might potentially be as complex and influential as our genes when it comes to our health and happiness.
As well as being implicated in mental health issues, it’s also thought the gut microbiome may influence our athleticism, weight, immune function, inflammation, allergies, metabolism and appetite.
The past month alone has seen studies linking the gut microbiome with post-traumatic stress disorder; fathoming its connection with autoimmune disease; finding that tea alters the gut microbiome in anti-obesogenic ways; showing that “Ridiculously healthy” 90-year-olds have the gut microbiome of young adults; and how targeting mosquitos’ gut flora could help beat malaria by increasing the malaria-attacking bacteria in their guts.
The APC Microbiome Institute in Cork published a paper in 2014 reporting its findings that the gut flora of the Ireland rugby team was more diverse than that of a healthy control group.
Foster, who is working towards using the gut microbiome as a biomarker for predicting and diagnosing mental health problems, says she doesn’t take probiotic supplements, although “Probioticking” is a verb in her household.
Cryan’s official line is that we are five years off cracking the human gut microbiome, but of course there’s no way of knowing.

The orginal article.