The Human Microbiome- Friend Not Foe!

Taken from the Museum of Science in Boston http://www.mos.org/public-events/friends-with-benefits
Taken from the Museum of Science in Boston http://www.mos.org/public-events/friends-with-benefits

Humans are part of a much larger (and smaller) picture than was suspected. It turns out, we’re part of an finely woven network of smaller organisms that live on us and in us. When they thrive, we thrive. So what are they? Bacteria!

Alas, we do not exist in isolation. Nor can we study the human body in isolation. Science has begun to demonstrate the enormity of the role that bacteria play in our lives- helping us to absorb vitamins and minerals, to protect us against unsavory “bad” bacteria and to possibly prevent illnesses like cancers and even obesity.

Recently, there has been much research into the relationship between human health and the health of the human microbiome. Whether this relationship is causal, in terms of health or disease, is to be determined. It seems to be pointing that way.

Amazingly, the bacteria in our gut, nasal passages, oral cavities and the skin make up between 2-6 pounds of an adult human’s weight. Wow. The National Institute for Health reports, “Within the body of a healthy adult, microbial cells are estimated to outnumber human cells ten to one.” Bigger Wow!

There is much to take away from this. There is much still to learn. Let’s think. How can we create a welcoming host to these beneficial bacteria? How will this new research help us to live better lives?

To learn more about the human biome and to learn what research is taking place visit:

http://commonfund.nih.gov/hmp/overview

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_microbiome

http://www.mos.org/public-events/friends-with-benefits

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