Microbiome research is as hot as ever, and new findings are unveiled almost daily. At the moment, most of the articles and studies focus on the microbiome in different organs (e.g., skin, mouth, gut), but I think it’s also important to have a broader view of the human body as a complex superorganism that lives in a symbiotic relationship with the vast microbial communties in the environment. This is the perspective I’ve slowly come to have and one that I want to reflect here on the blog.
Americans are eating 78 Fewer calories per day
Calorie consumption in the U.S. has steadily increased during the last century, but new statistics show that working-age adults were eating about 78 fewer calories per day in 2010, compared to 2005. In general, it seems that people eat more home-cooked food, less saturated fat, and more fiber from fruits and vegetables. The reduced energy consumption is certainly a positive trend, but only a small step towards halting the obesity epidemic.
New reports for those who want to learn the basics about the human microbiome
The American Acadamy of Microbiology just released a 20-page report on The Human Microbiome and a 1-page infographic that are great for those people who want a basic understanding of what what the human microbiome really is.
20 most common species of bacteria in the human body revealed
YourWildLife.org recently published an article where they “revealed” the twenty most common species living in the human body.
What does the microbiome of hunter-gatherers look like?
One of the most important goals of modern research is to establish what a healthy or “optimal” (if that exists) human microbiome looks like. However, the fact that the vast majority of people in the modern world have eaten western food, taken antibiotics, lived mostly indoors, etc., suggests that to really gfet an idea of what the human superorganism looked like through most of our evolutionary history, we have to turn our attention to the few populations on earth who still live a hunter-gatherer lifestyle.
Jeff Leach, one of the collaborators of The Human Food project, aims to map the microbiome of the Hadza, a community of hunter-gatherers in Tanzania whose lifestyle and diet resemble that of our paleolithic ancestors. He’s planning to collect bacteria from the environment, as well as from the mouth, skin, gut, and other body sites of the primitive people so that we can possible learn more about the composition of a “healthy” human microbiome. Learn more about the project here, here, and here.
Benefits of prebiotic fiber
I’ve previously written extensively about the importance of eating prebiotics, and recent research adds to previous findings which show that prebiotics can prevent obesity and diabetes, improve colon health, and promote health and increased lifespan in animals.
How does the human microbiome look like in space?
One of the more far-fetched things that has never been studied extensively, is how the microbiome changes in space. A recent report shows that certain strains of bacteria can become more virulent after just a few days in space, and a new project called Astronaut Microbiome is now going to find out what actually happens to a human microbiome that leaves earth.
Other interesting stuff
- Muscle-Strengthening, Conditioning in Women Associated With Reduced Risk of Diabetes
- Fish Derived Serum Omega-3 Fatty Acids Help Reduce Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
- Oral health depends largely on the microbes that live in the mouth.
- Microbial dysbiosis is associated with human breast cancer.
- …fermented foods may also influence brain health via direct and indirect pathways.