Don’t look now, but there are between 30 trillion and 400 trillion gut bacteria that call the human body home.
In fact, there are many more bacteria in the gut than there are cells in the body.
Most of them hang out in our gastrointestinal tract, specifically our gut. A vast majority of the bacteria that hitch a ride inside are simple, single-celled microorganisms. The trillions of these bacteria that live inside us are called microbiota.
Because we have such an important lifelong relationship with these symbiotic critters, all of them together make up an internal ecosystem that scientists call the gut microbiome.
As we go through life, our microbiome is either helped or hindered by such factors as aging, where we live, medication and antibiotic use, disease, the environment, diet and supplementation.
And while the old beliefs about “germs” were that they were all “bad,” even bacteria that were recently thought to be only harmful, such as H. pylori, can, for example, offer some benefit for appetite regulation.