Remember when the human genome was mapped? Or when DNA tests became available so you could see what drugs you reacted to or what diseases you had markers for? The folks at uBiome are mapping the human microbiome – the flora that’s in our gut, that makes up over 80% of our immune system and affects every aspect of our lives.
Whether or not you care if the whole world gets mapped, this could be of critical importance to your own health, since if you make a donation to the project you will get your own personal microbiome results so you can see what’s really going on in there and what supplements you need to take (or which ones are totally ineffective).
Today’s post is a guest post by Jessica Richman at uBiome. This is a fantastic project that I will be participating in, since I’ve been dealing with a couple GI issues lately. Let me know what you think in the comments. And, if you end up getting the testing done, let me know what you find out and how it helped on your journey for optimal health.
written by Jessica Richman
Have you ever wondered how you can measure your effort to change your diet or lifestyle? Is your paleo diet working? What happens if you stop eating gluten or dairy?
The microbiome are the bacteria that live on and within us; all of us are actually covered in helpful germs. Like the rainforest, the healthy human microbiome is a balanced ecosystem. Studies have linked microbiome imbalance to autism, depression, and anxiety, as well as many gut disorders, eczema, and chronic sinusitis.
To bring this technology to the public, my co-founders and I started uBiome, the world’s first citizen science effort to map the human microbiome. From a small sample on a cotton swab, a uBiome test can help anyone learn more about their body, including:
- Diet: Certain gut enterotypes are strongly associated with long-term diets, particularly protein and animal fat (Bacteroides) versus carbohydrates (Prevotella).
- Diabetes: Gut microflora may correlate with people who have diabetes.
- Bowel conditions: Irritable Bowel Disorder (and many other bowel conditions) can be detected via your microbiome.
So far, the project has garnered over $285,000 in crowdfunding from over 2,000 participants from around the world, and been featured in Wired, Venture Beat, Scientific American, BoingBoing, Fox News, Los Angeles Times, MIT Technology Review and more.
Please join us at www.indiegogo.com/ubiome — The campaign ends in just 4 days!
Five Things Your Microbiome Can Tell You
1. Obesity. Ley et al (2006) and others have identified gut microbes associated with obesity, such as Eubacterium rectale. In addition, Upadhyay et al (2012) did experiments with mouse models and suggested the possibility that the microbiome could be manipulated for weight control in the near future
2. Dietary composition. Wu et al (2011) found that gut enterotypes were strongly associated with long-term diets, particularly protein and animal fat (Bacteroides) versus carbohydrates (Prevotella).
3. Antibiotics. If you have recently taken antibiotics, your gut microflora may not yet have been replenished. Dethlefsen et al (2008) found that ciprofloxacin treatment influenced the abundance of about a third of the bacterial taxa in the gut. Similarly, Jernberg et al (2007) found that long after the selection pressure from a short antibiotic exposure has been removed, there are persistent long term impacts on the human intestinal microbiota that remain for up to two years post-treatment.
4. Allergies. Is your nasal microbiome associated with the profile of chronic sinusitis? Abreu et al (2012) found that multiple, phylogenetically distinct lactic acid bacteria were depleted concomitant with an increase in the relative abundance of a single species, Corynebacterium tuberculostearicum, in patients suffering from chronic sinusitis.
5. Bacterial vaginosis. If you have a penis, your microbiome may be correlated with bacterial vaginosis in women. Price et al (2010) found that two families found in certain penis microbiomes — Clostridiales Family XI and Prevotellaceae — have been previously associated with bacterial vaginosis. This may correspond to frequent infections in your partner.