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Think that only things like the national debt reaches a figure in the trillions? Well, the microbiome fits this bill, too – and then some. These cells can be found all over your body, ranging from the armpit to the belly button to the oral cavity. The largest microbial community resides in the gastrointestinal tract – you may have heard it referenced as “the microbiome,” “the microbiota” or “the microflora.”
Although microbes have long been associated with infection and disease, the microbiome also contributes to positive health effects. Research has shown that the microbiome contributes to human health by aiding in digestion, providing energy and nutrients, outcompeting harmful bacteria and training the immune system. On the flipside, altered microbiome profiles have been associated with obesity, inflammatory bowel conditions, cancer and cardiovascular disease, and we are only just beginning to understand these associations.
You may have heard or read about studies “linking” low-calorie sweeteners and negative alterations to the microbiome. Media stories on such complex topics don’t always do the best job of explaining the design, results and limitations of scientific studies. They tell and sell a story based on one study, often devoting little time to the wealth of accepted literature that may say otherwise. The overwhelming majority of media stories about the role of low-calorie sweeteners on the microbiome point to scientific studies performed in animal models, rather than clinical trials (the gold standard).
Read full, original post: 3 Truths and a Lie About the Microbiome