Last week, I read about the metabolome for the first time. Funny word, I thought, reading it as meta….bolome. Then, as I began to read through the article[i] I realized I was putting the accent on the wrong syllable. Metabo – lome….as in metabo-lites! Doh.
Someone needed a nap badly.
The metabolome refers to the metabolites produced by the bacteria of the microbiome, according to the article’s author. (Way too narrow a definition, as the yeasts and macrobiotic organisms in the biome also produce metabolites.) These metabolites allow the microbiome to communicate with the host – this is how they affect our digestion, our behavior, and our health.
The article provides some fascinating examples of research into these metabolites.
This concept is not at all new to me (but the word metabolome certainly was). For example, for years I’ve followed the work of Derek McFabe, a Canadian researcher, who has looked at propionic acid’s (a metabolite of certain gut bacteria) relationship to autism for well over a decade. More on this in my next post.