The End of the 'Ideal' Microbiome Myth and the Rise of Customized Microbial Wellness

Moving Beyond the “Ideal” Microbiome Concept: A new published study conclude that the notion of an “ideal” microbiome is outdated, emphasizing instead the importance of understanding and maintaining one’s unique microbiome for personal health.

The International Society of Microbiota shares this excellent study by researchers from Stanford University School of Medicine, led by Xin Zhou, Michael Snyder and colleagues.

A Stanford Medicine-led study reveals that our microbiome, the collective of bacteria within our bodies, is as unique to each individual as a fingerprint. This research involved tracking the gut, mouth, nose, and skin bacteria of 86 participants over up to six years.

The findings have been published in the peer-reviewed journal, Cell Host & Microbe.

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Graphical Abstract - Credits: Xin Zhou et al., 2024

Unique Bacterial Persistence

The study found that the bacteria which persisted best in each person’s microbiome were those most unique to the individual, suggesting a highly personalized microbial ecosystem.

Influence of Genetics, Diet, and Immune System

According to Michael Snyder, PhD, individual genetics, diet, and immune systems play significant roles in shaping these unique microbial ecosystems.

Correlation with Health Conditions

The research identified correlations between microbiome stability and health conditions, noting that individuals with Type 2 diabetes exhibited less stable and diverse microbiomes.

Comprehensive Long-term Tracking

This extensive study involved the collection of 5,432 biological samples and generated over 118 million measurements, offering unprecedented insights into microbiome stability and variability.

Microbiome Stability as a Health Indicator

Stability within an individual's microbiome during periods of health contrasts with fluctuations observed during illness or disease onset, highlighting the potential of microbiome stability as an indicator of health.

Integrated Microbial Ecosystem

Surprisingly, the study also discovered that microbiomes across different body sites are highly correlated, suggesting an interconnected ecosystem responsive to changes in health conditions.

The Immune System's Role

The study suggests the immune system as a key connector between microbes in various body sites and overall health, with changes in immune protein levels correlating with microbiome shifts.

Environmental Influences and Personal Health

Environmental factors, including seasonality, diet, and possibly other lifestyle factors, were found to influence the microbiome, though much of the variability between individuals remains unexplained.

Moving Beyond the "Ideal" Microbiome Concept

The researchers conclude that the notion of an "ideal" microbiome is outdated, emphasizing instead the importance of understanding and maintaining one's unique microbiome for personal health.

Stay updated on the latest advances on microbiome and related strategies during Targeting Microbiota 2024 this October. Submit a related abstract.

Article DOI.

Read more about the findings: Stanford University Press Release.

Copyright: International Society of Microbiota

International Society of Microbiota
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