In recent years, researchers have been paying a lot of attention to the gut microbiome: the collection of bacteria and other microscopic living things that live in our intestines and digestive system. The gut microbiome is a pretty complex system that plays a role in helping us digest food, obtain energy, and fight disease — and scientists are increasingly finding that it can influence a lot more than our digestion. In 2019 alone, a heap of revelations have been published that reveal just how influential the mix of micro-organisms in our guts really are.
There are a lot of areas in which the gut microbiome is proving to be an important player. Take the gut-brain axis. If you haven't heard of this yet, it's the link between what happens in your digestive system and what happens in your brain. We know that it goes both ways; the nervous system of the gut communicates with the brain and vice versa. And the microbiome itself has a key role in those communication pathways, affecting everything from our immune systems to our moods. As the science from just the first few weeks of 2019 confirms, having a healthy gut is crucial for overall health — and 'healthy' can look very different in different people. Here are just a few facts science figured out about gut health in the last few weeks.