The health area I’m most excited about for the next 10-plus years is microbiome medicine. A microbiome is the collection of microorganisms in a particular environment, like soil or the human body.
One of the most important microbiomes in our body is our gut microbiome. It’s bigger than the average human brain and contains trillions of bacteria, archaea, fungi and viruses. It contains at least 150 times more genes than the human genome. And that means it has a huge impact on our health.
A good primer article from The Guardian explains this further:
We are filled to the brim with microbes, which form microbiomes on our skin, in our mouths, lungs, eyes, and reproductive systems. These have co-evolved alongside us since the beginning of human history. But the gut’s is the largest and most significant for our short- and long-term health. It is massively complex and its residents vary enormously from person to person…
Gut microbes do things the gut can’t do, liberating or synthesising nutrients from food, especially from plants and their polyphenols, living off non-digestible substrates, producing thousands of metabolites — useful chemicals — and making vital short-chain fatty acids that are involved with immunity, with keeping the gut and colon healthy, with moderating the body’s inflammatory responses and with the metabolism of glucose.
Scientists and health professionals are just beginning to understand the importance of the microbes that live in our gut and elsewhere in our body. I believe that the key to solving countless diseases lies in modifying the microbiome.
There is emerging evidence that “dysbiosis” in our gut microbiome — a disruption to the balance of beneficial and harmful microbes — can cause all sorts of health problems, including depression, obesity and gastrointestinal disorders.
Microbiome medicine is an area I’m truly excited to explore and invest in. If you’re curious to learn more, I recommend checking out these articles:
- “Microbiome Medicine: Scientists Harness the Body’s ‘Bugs’ to Treat Asthma, MS and More”
- “New UB study looks at relationship between the microbiome and breast cancer”
- “Bio-Me Raises NOK 10M for Microbiome Precision Medicine”
And keep an eye out for microbiome medicine news and microbiome startups. I think some very interesting investment opportunities will emerge from this space.