― Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene
We’ve all heard it… People complaining about bad genetics being the reason they can’t lose weight, build muscle, or get rid of their chronic health problems. When neither diet nor exercise seems to bring any results, it’s easy to start blaming something that is out of our control, and since we know that genes determine our predisposition to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other disorders with a genetic component, mum and dad quickly end up getting the blame. But, while we’ve known for a long time that the human DNA we inherit from our parents shape our physiology and health, we’re now starting to understand that the microbial genes in our body could be even more important than the 23 pairs of human chromosomes in terms of determining our susceptibility to disease. We’re also learning that the microbial ecosystems in our body impact the hormonal and inflammatory mileu, and thereby our ability to lose weight and build muscle and strength.