Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • Being human,

  • we each view ourselves as a unique and independent individual,

  • but we're never alone!

  • Millions of microscopic beings inhabit our bodies,

  • and no two bodies are the same.

  • Each is a different habitat for microbial communities:

  • from the arid deserts of our skin,

  • to the villages on our lips,

  • and the cities in our mouths.

  • Even every tooth is its own distinctive neighborhood,

  • and our guts are teaming metropolises of interacting microbes.

  • And in these bustling streets of our guts,

  • we see a constant influx of food,

  • and every microbe has a job to do.

  • Here's a cellulolytic bacteria, for example.

  • Their one job is to break down cellulose,

  • a common compound in vegetables, into sugars.

  • Those simple sugars then move along to the respirators,

  • another set of microbes that snatch up

  • these simple sugars and burn them as fuel.

  • As food travels through our digestive tract,

  • it reaches the fermentors who extract energy from these sugars

  • by converting them into chemicals,

  • like alcohol and hydrogen gas,

  • which they spew out as waste products.

  • Deeper in the depths of our gut city,

  • the syntrophs eke out a living off the fermenters' trash.

  • At each step of this process,

  • energy is released,

  • and that energy is absorbed

  • by the cells of the digestive tract.

  • This city we just saw is different in everyone.

  • Every person has a unique and diverse community of gut microbes

  • that can process food in different ways.

  • One person's gut microbes may be capable

  • of releasing only a fraction of the calories

  • that another person's gut microbes can extract.

  • So, what determines the membership of our gut microbial community?

  • Well, things like our genetic makeup

  • and the microbes we encounter throughout our lives

  • can contribute to our microbial ecosystems.

  • The food we eat also influences

  • which microbes live in our gut.

  • For example, food made of complex molecules,

  • like an apple,

  • requires a lot of different microbial workers to break it down.

  • But, if a food is made of simple molecules,

  • like a lollipop,

  • some of these workers are put out of a job.

  • Those workers leave the city, never to return.

  • What doesn't function well are gut microbial communities

  • with only a few different types of workers.

  • For example, humans who suffer from diseases

  • like diabetes or chronic gut inflamation

  • typically have less microbial variety in their guts.

  • We don't fully understand the best way

  • to manage our individual microbial societies,

  • but it is likely that lifestyle changes,

  • such as eating a varied diet of complex, plant-based foods,

  • can help revitalize our microbial ecosystems in our gut

  • and across the entire landscape of our body.

  • So, we are really not alone in our body.

  • Our bodies are homes to millions of different microbes,

  • and we need them just as much as they need us.

  • As we learn more about how our microbes

  • interact with each other and with our bodies,

  • we will reveal how we can nurture

  • this complex, invisible world

  • that shapes our personal identity,

  • our health,

  • and our well-being.

Being human,

Subtitles and vocabulary

Operation of videos Adjust the video here to display the subtitles

B2 TED-Ed microbial gut tract complex digestive

【TED-Ed】You are your microbes - Jessica Green and Karen Guillemin

  • 1204 149
    drsueec posted on 2013/08/01
Video vocabulary