The role of the gut in our overall well-being seems to grow bigger with every new study. But while attention—and research dollars—have focused on the importance of bacteria in our gut, a crucial player in digestive (and general) health has been largely overlooked by most: fungus.
The exception is scientist Mahmoud Ghannoum, Ph.D., an NIH-funded researcher since 1993, who’s spent his career studying fungi in the body (there are about 50 different species living in our gut specifically). Dr. Ghannoum is credited with uncovering the significant interplay between bacteria and fungi, which affects the critical balance of the body’s microbiome. (Much of this interaction occurs at a digestive plaque wall that Ghannoum discovered with his research team at Case Western Reserve University in 2016.) It was Ghannoum who also came up with the name that is now used by the scientific community for the body’s fungal ecosystems: the mycobiome. Most recently, Ghannoum’s research led him to develop the first probiotic (called BIOHM) designed to balance the body’s larger microbiome by addressing good and bad native fungi, as well as bacteria. Here, he shares his expertise on our fungal communities and gut health. Full Q&A