When I first started getting interested in the human microbiome about 6 years ago, relatively little scientific data on the subject was available. However, during the next couple of years, microbiome research exploded, and I soon became convinced that bacteria are essential to our health and well-being. This belief has only strengthened over time, and although the science is still in the early stages, I believe that the trillions of microbes in and on our body are the key to understanding human health.
The reason I see it this way is not only because science has made it clear that we are 99% microbe from a genetic perspective, but also because “all” aspects of our lifestyle seem to impact the microbiome, and the microbiome shapes both our mental and physical health. The food we eat, the drugs we take, the air we breath and the people we interact with are just some of the factors that alter the microbial communities in and on our body. These selective pressures shape our microbiome, and the microbiome shapes our health. The cloud of microbes that make up our body is essentially the missing link between environmental stimuli and health and disease.
Although it’s great that we’re now finally beginning to learn more about the ecosystem that is our body, the fact is that the primary reason we need knowledge about the microbiome is that humans as a species have moved so far away from the natural ecological niche we’re adapted to live in. In an age of antibiotics, processed food, and hand sanitizers, we need to learn about the bacteria that make up our bodies so we can try to fix the damage we’re inflicting.
I realise that a lot of the information on this site can get a bit technical at times, so here’s a couple of videos from youtube that highlight the importance of our microbial old friends…