Trillions of microbes — including bacteria, fungi, and viruses — call us home. These bacteria are on our skin, in our mouth, respiratory tract, urinary tract, and gut. These microbes are essential to human health, helping us to digest food, produce certain vitamins, regulate the immune system, and provide resistance against infectious pathogens.
In fact, the microbiome plays a role in just about every biologic system. Pathogens, antibiotic use, diet, inflammation, and other forces can cause dysbiosis, a disruption in these microbial ecosystems, which can lead to or perpetuate disease.