The Human Ecology Journal > What it means to be a Microbiome Guardian

What it means to be a Microbiome Guardian


From the air we breathe to the ground we walk on we are exposed to multiple internal and external microbiomes every day.  As passionate Microbiome Guardians, we take our stewardship of the Microbiome very seriously and with this year’s theme for World Microbiome Day being “Celebration of The Microbial World”, we thought what better way to celebrate all things microbial than asking our team 2 simple questions: what does being a microbiome guardian mean to you, and, how do you practice microbiome guardianship?

Our individual interpretations of what Microbiome Guardianship means to each of us showed some fascinatingly unifying themes. And, from making and eating favourite ferments to spending time with fur babies or walking in nature, the way in which we practice microbiome guardianship showcased great variety with some similarities, too. We hope you enjoy our answers and walk away with a better understanding of Microbiome Guardianship and new ideas on how to practice being a Microbiome Guardian in your everyday.

To me, being a Microbiome Guardian means protecting and promoting my health and, in turn, the health of those around me. A recent study suggests that the state of our microbiome can have a significant impact on the microbiome of others we interact with frequently (such as our family and colleagues). This drives me to be an even better Guardian so that I can positively impact the people I interact with daily.
Quentin

Being a microbiome guardian for me is being conscious of what I’m putting into my body, what I do and where I go. Looking after my microbiome is not something I knew about or thought about before working here and now I’m protective of my body and want to continue learning more about being a guardian.
Sian

“Being a Microbiome Guardian is the ultimate form of ‘self-care’ and ‘self-less care’ too.”

Being a Microbiome Guardian is the ultimate form of ‘self-care’ and ‘self-less care’ too. By nurturing our microbiome, whether it be gut, oral, vaginal, it helps to optimise our own health but also that of others too. We can share our microbiome with loved ones and the maternal microbiome directly seeds that of their offspring which then has a important impact on their long-term health. So, by nurturing our microbiome, the ripple-effect benefit is huge, for own own health, and for that of those around us and even future generations. To me, it also means being a guardian of the environment which we live in and Planet Earth! We know that the health of every ecosystem on the planet is interconnected, including the ecosystem of the human body, and if we want to be truly well, we need to help our environment to be healthy at the same time
Emily

“Spreading the word about utilising nature as a tool to promote healthy ecosystems.”

For me, being a Microbiome Guardian means ensuring we develop and provide the best quality diagnostic services to people to aid them on their journey to restoring health and happiness. Also, spreading the word about utilising nature as a tool to promote healthy ecosystems.
Suzie

Before working at Invivo my understanding of the microbiome was limited (at best). Now I take steps to promote a diverse and healthy range of bacteria within my diet and connection with the environment.
Jack

 

For me it is about broadening my consciousness to understand the interdependent relationship and consequence of my actions- from what I impact and how that may in turn impact myself, others and beyond.
Lou

It means loving and caring for the microbes inside, outside and around us as if our life depended on it (which it does). It means not “naming and shaming” individual species of bacteria, viruses or fungi as being “bad” but always asking how the environment or the ecosystem in which they exist makes them so. It means being an advocate of the power the microbiome can have in guiding us and the planet towards better health and ecological restoration whilst at the same time being curious and in awe at the unknown impacts of the microbiome we have yet to discover.
Humphrey

“What I find incredible is that I am able to positively influence the microbiomes of those around me, my family and friends”

For many years since studying nutrition, I have loved being able to nurture my microbiome through my own dietary and lifestyle choices, and the increasing evidence of links with so many health outcomes. But what I find incredible is that I am able to positively influence the microbiomes of those around me, my family and friends, and through my daughter even the next generation potentially! Having had an atopic childhood myself (with asthma hospitalisations and severe eczema blighting my teens), I am grateful of what I know about nurturing microbiomes to help others to optimise their health and become Microbiome Guardians too.
Naomi

Being mindful of my place in the environment and its place with me. Balancing food for enjoyment and fuel.
Matt

Keeping the microbiome healthy and balanced, in order to optimize physical and mental health and well-being.
Lisa

To support others and myself to strive for as much diversity in all aspects of life; food, creatures, opinions, locations.
Kath

It means being able to hopefully help people with health issues get better.
Rob

 

For me being a microbiome guardian is all about making sure that the communities of good bacteria living in our microbiomes, whether it’s the gut, mouth or elsewhere, are all thriving, and that I take the steps necessary to adjust them if necessary, whether that’s through direct supplementation or naturally occurring in food and drink.
George

Preserving the unseen life on the planet, taking care of myself, my family and our environment.
Belinda

To me, being a microbiome guardian means caring for my own multiple microbiomes as well as the external microbiomes that influence them while honouring the beautiful interconnection they have.
Robyn

I’ve always thrived outdoors and do weekly cold water swimming in the local river and a few runs a week. I eat a diverse range of vegetables and am conscious not to stick with the same veg too often. I have also recommended ideas to my friends and family to promote longevity and health.
Jack

“I listen to my body and mind – if something feels off, address it, don’t ignore it.”

I listen to my body and mind – if something feels off, address it, don’t ignore it. I have a fur baby that keeps me happy and sane and a husband that does the same thing! I enjoy PHGG with my morning coffee and a good smoothy with Vegecleanse and Vegemeal with fruit. Being kind to myself is one of the most important things I am learning to do.
Sian

Eating a balanced diet, walking to work almost every day, and researching the significance of the microbiome and its importance.
Quentin

 

“I also love thinking big when it comes to supporting the microbiome and exploring other ways to nurture it, including getting into composting, growing my own vegetables and lots of different flowers in my garden, playing with my cat, and exercising outside in the woods.”

By encouraging friends, family, clients, and myself to get to know their microbiome better through EcologiX testing to allow tailored interventions to be put into place to help optimise it, whether that be increasing our intake of home-fermented foods (I love making sauerkraut, kimchi and kefir), daily fibre intake, and enjoying at least 30 different plant foods per week, and taking therapeutic microbiome-nurturing supplements, especially prebiotics and probiotics. I also love thinking big when it comes to supporting the microbiome and exploring other ways to nurture it, including getting into composting, growing my own vegetables and lots of different flowers in my garden, playing with my cat, and exercising outside in the woods.
Emily

Before I joined Invivo, the microbiome was an alien concept to me. 1 year on and what was once unfamiliar has morphed into a healthy obsession. From encouraging microbial diversity by eating a wide variety of fruit & veg and making ferments where I can to fervently digesting new research and articles on developments in both human and environmental microbiomes, I consciously (& sometimes unconsciously) take my role as a microbiome guardian quite seriously.
Robyn

A whole lot of little. Walking without shoes when I can, patting close to every dog I see that consents, sharing foods with friends, buying less, making more homemade food, consuming prebiotics, supporting local and independent growers. I consider how I consume and who I consciously support.
Lou

Permaculture + organic gardening, letting the wild into the house and garden, investing in local food systems and small-scale agriculture, being in nature, nourishing my microbiome with prebiotics and phytobiotics, sleeping well, exercising in nature.
Humphrey

I nurture my microbiome through the diversity of plant-based foods and drinks (such as polyphenol-rich green tea) I consume and choosing an organic veg box delivery as the foundation for our weekly diet. Despite living in London, I do my best to get out in nature on weekends and holidays, and particularly enjoy “Shinrin-Yoku” (Japanese for forest-bathing), where I feel a difference in my mood and energy, and safe in the knowledge it is helping my microbiome. While antibiotics may at times be almost unavoidable (as I have recently experienced with an acute infection), I know we have the dietary and supplemental tools (such as my daily PHGG and regularly use Bio.Me Essential and polyphenol-rich berry powders in smoothies) to quickly restore and rebalance the microbiome. I usually buy fermented foods and, being Japanese, miso and tofu are staples in my diet! Recently, however, my lovely colleague Emily did a masterclass in making sauerkraut (a potent anti-inflammatory version was my favourite!) and look forward to learning to make more fermented foods myself.
Naomi

I try to eat a variety of colours of veg and stroke every dog or cat I have the opportunity to stroke.
Matthew

Be curious about new stuff. Trying new combinations of food, people and opinions. And yes I do love a portion of sauerkraut.
Kath

Spending time outside and with my dog, and staying fit.
Rob

Eating a wide range of organic vegetables and legumes, listening to my body and identifying practices which may be causing microbial imbalances, and gardening at our allotment!
Suzie

I am personally a big fan of fermented foods, and really enjoy discovering fermented foods from different cultures across the world, such as kimchi, tempeh and miso. They are great for rewilding your gut microbiome with beneficial bacteria and are often delicious too.
George

Trying to reduce intake of processed food, especially sugar. Eating a variety of fruit and veg. Spending time in nature. Exercising regularly.
Lisa

“I spend time in my garden, and try to preserve the life in the soil as much as possible by not digging too much, and not using pesticides, herbicides or artificial fertilisers.”

I spend time in my garden and try to preserve the life in the soil as much as possible by not digging too much, and not using pesticides, herbicides or artificial fertilisers. I make my kids play in the mud kitchen and go hunting for minibeasts! I make my own yoghurt, pickles, sourdough and Kimchi (all easier than they sound!), I try to avoid ultra-processed food and any cosmetics with any unfamiliar ingredients. I have naps with my cat whenever I can.
Belinda

With an ever-increasing understanding of the interdependence of our health and the health of our microbiome, now is as good a time as any to embrace your own role as a microbiome guardian and start showing your own microbiome some love.