b'Chapter TwoMeet Your MicrobiotaY our body is home to trillions of microorganisms. Some of them live on your skin and some in your mouth, but a large number of microbes inhabit your gutand most of those can be found in the large intestine. This collection of microbes is known as the microbiota. Think of it as a community made up of various bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi. And just like any community, each persons microbiota has its own unique characteristics. But unlike a community in your town, the characteristics of microbial communities are dependent on something called the microbiome. Your microbiomerefers to the complete set of genes within the microbes that make up your body. You have a unique microbiota and a unique microbiome that is unlike anyone elses based on where you live, your age and gender, what you eat, your overall health status, the amount of stress you have, and even what you touch in your environment. But although your microbial profile is uniquely yours, like your fingerprint, everyone shares some common traits, especially when it comes to the bacteria in the gut.Good Bugs, Bad BugsYour gastrointestinal tract is home to an estimated 8,000 different strains of bacteria that perform very important functions in your bodyfrom the mouth all the way down to the rectum. But while plenty of these microbes are helpful, not all of them are beneficial. Beneficial bacterias best-known role in good health is the protection they offer against the harmful microbes that can make you sick. One way they do this is by producing organic compounds such as lactic acid, hydrogen peroxide, and acetic acid that increase the acidity in your intestines. This helps prevent the bad bugs from reproducing. Your good bacteria also produceOutnumbered!bacteriocin, a natural antibiotic that kills off harmful microorganisms and enhances your immune system byOf the estimated boosting disease-fighting cells. Whats more, these friendly37 trillion cells that bacteria also help your body synthesize vitamins and absorb nutrients. Plus, they keep pathogens at bay andmake up your body, interact directly with your immune system to improve youronly 43 percent are overall health. Ideally, good and bad bacteria would naturally live inactually human! The harmonious balance. Unfortunately, this balance is oftenrest are bacteria, askew in the real world. And that means you need to sendviruses, and other in reinforcements. Supplemental probiotics, when ingested properly, help recolonize the digestive tract with friendly,microorganisms.beneficial bacteria.THE G O OD GUT7'