You might not know this, but you are a living, breathing human superorganism. Your body is home to trillions of microorganisms that help keep your body functioning and help protect it from disease. These microbes, mostly bacteria, are collectively known as the human microbiome.
The association between the microbiome and human health is one of the hottest topics of scientific research right now.
When a child is born, the first bacteria to arrive in the baby's gut helps to lay the foundations for lifelong health and immunity. Science has shown that the optimal way to “seed and feed” your baby's microbiome is through natural birth where possible, skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding.
With Caesarean Section, this could be disrupting the natural microscopic processes of childbirth. It could be why babies born by C-Section are at increased risk of developing asthma, diabetes, coeliac disease and becoming obese later in life
But what happens after birth? Could we be doing things in our everyday lives that are at odds with our human microbiome? And could this have consequences for our health?
The impact of a C-Section, but also with multiple courses of antibiotics, widespread use of antibacterial products, eating processed foods and even possibly the loss of our close connection with nature could all be impacting our microbiome.
Science has shown that there is a link, in some way, between an imbalance in the gut microbiome and an ever-growing list of health conditions, from allergies to asthma, from diabetes to obesity, from bowel disorders to some cancers and because of a gut-brain connection, even Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and autism.
So what can we do?
We're currently in production for our new film, A PROBIOTIC LIFE, which looks at things we can all do from birth that could help protect, rebalance and restore our microbiome. The film explores the latest science to see whether or not small shifts to our diet and lifestyle can make a difference to our health; from mode of birth to infant feeding, from eating microbiome-friendly foods to taking probiotics, from getting a dog to having more exposure to the natural world. The film also looks at what lies around the corner in terms of designing buildings to be more pro-biotic and it also reveals the very latest exciting medical breakthroughs.
The film calls for a re-think regarding our relationship with bacteria. We need a “tiny revolution” so that we all learn to love our microbes. After all, if we don't start looking after our microbes, how can our microbes look after us?
If you're just as fascinated about the microbiome as we are, you can find out more by watching Microbirth.
Winner of the Grand Prix Award at the Life Sciences Film Festival, it explores the microscopic events happening during childbirth, events that could have consequences for our lifelong health and, potentially, even ramifications for future generations.
Watch it on FMTV Today!