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  • Microbes are everywhere,

  • on your phone,

  • in your water bottle,

  • on your hands before you wash them,

  • on your hands after you wash them,

  • and literally everywhere else on top of you too.

  • Microbes are omnipresent at any moment, and there is nothing we can do about it

  • So, millions of years ago we made a pact,

  • we give them shelter and food,

  • and in turn they work for us.

  • But the more we learn about this partnership, the more it looks like a cold war

  • Inside our mother's womb, humans start out sterile

  • When we are born and traveling through the birth canal,

  • billions of our mother's bacteria cover every single part of our bodies.

  • This is an essential part of human health.

  • Children born via C-section have a higher rate of asthma,

  • immune diseases and even leukemia.

  • So our bodies do not only accept the invasion of microorganisms, they welcome it.

  • Over millions of years, we co-evolved to make the best of our relationship.

  • Mother's milk for example,

  • contains special sugars that are meant to feed and support

  • certain groups of microbes,

  • work as a decoy for others,

  • and help to modulate the immune system.

  • It takes up to two years, until a healthy microbe community has formed.

  • Every human has their own unique microbiome, made up of bacteria,

  • viruses, fungi and other organisms.

  • We have three categories of guests, on and in our bodies.

  • One:

  • Quiet passengers that do their own thing, and are politely ignored.

  • By being there, they take up space and keep more aggressive intruders in check.

  • Two:

  • Guests that harm us,

  • But with whom we've learned to live,

  • for example, bacteria that literally create acid that melts our teeth,

  • if we don't brush enough.

  • They want to take up as much space as they can,

  • and we don't want them to.

  • But, we can't get rid of them entirely.

  • Three:

  • Friendly fellows that our bodies want to have around,

  • most of them are a community of 380,000 billion bacteria,

  • from up to 5,000 different species, that live in our gut.

  • These gut microorganisms help us digest food,

  • and pull additional calories from things that we can't digest ourselves.

  • Unfortunately, our gut is also the perfect point of attack for intruders,

  • so it's guarded by an aggressive army,

  • our immune system.

  • To survive here, our microbiome co-evolved with us

  • to be able to communicate with our body.

  • The most important part of that is to ask the immune system to not kill them.

  • But, they also have a real motivation to keep our gut healthy,

  • so some of them produce a messenger substances,

  • that help to educate the immune system,

  • and others stimulate the gut cells to regenerate faster.

  • But, over the last few years.

  • Evidence has emerged that the influence of our gut microbiome,

  • goes much much further.

  • It might even talk directly to our brain.

  • We've observed a few curious things,

  • 90% of our body's serotonin,

  • an important messenger substance for nerve cells,

  • is produced in the gut.

  • Some scientists think the microbiome does this,

  • to communicate with the vagus nerve.

  • The information highway of our nervous system.

  • Other examples are bacteria that stimulate immune cells in the gut,

  • so they send a kind of alarm signal to the brain.

  • Here, it activates immune cells that help the brain recover from injuries.

  • Since the brain decides what we eat,

  • the microbiome is interested in a healthy brain.

  • A new field of science is opening up here,

  • and we're just on the verge of understanding how these

  • complex systems inside our bodies interact.

  • But we are starting to see how much our microbiome

  • actually influences us and our behavior.

  • Take depression for example,

  • Healthy rats fed microbes from the guts of depressed people,

  • began showing anxiety-like behavior,

  • and symptoms that look like depression.

  • And in early 2017, a study linked the microbiome to intelligence,

  • by connecting a certain set up of bacteria in newborns,

  • with better motor and language skills.

  • But it might also influence our daily lives.

  • Tests with fruit flies,

  • showed that their microbiome, influenced what kinds of food they craved.

  • This could mean your microbes are able to tell your brain,

  • which food it should get them.

  • Although, this is not a one-way street

  • The seed for our microbiome comes from our mother,

  • but how it develops and changes, is determined by what we eat.

  • the organisms in our gut feed on different things,

  • some like fibers and leafy greens,

  • others go for sugars and starches,

  • and some love greasy fries and butter.

  • Our gut is like a garden in which we constantly decide,

  • what will grow and blossom.

  • If we eat healthily, we breed bacteria that like healthy food.

  • If we eat a lot of fast food, then we breed fast food loving bacteria.

  • Life is hard, so we can get trapped in a vicious circle.

  • You have a stressful time, and eat lots of burgers and fries and pizza.

  • This is awesome for fast food bacteria,

  • they multiply and multiply, and take up space from vegetable loving bacteria.

  • But even worse, they send signals to the brain to continue what it's doing.

  • this makes you want more fast food.

  • Which breeds more fast food bacteria,

  • which makes you crave fast food, and so on.

  • This kind of self-reinforcing cycle,

  • could play a huge role in obesity.

  • But, it's important to stress that you can fight this process,

  • and reverse it, by eating healthily and breeding more good bacteria.

  • Beyond weight gain, our microbiome has also been linked to other

  • serious diseases like autism,

  • schizophrenia, and cancer.

  • One of the earliest symptoms of Parkinson's, is actually gut problems.

  • If your body is overrun with bacteria that harm you,

  • there is often only one solution.

  • You bring in an army of good guys.

  • That's very easy,

  • You just transplant some healthy poop.

  • You do that by literally transferring poop, from a healthy person,

  • into your gut.

  • This method is already used, to cure diarrhea

  • that's caused when C. difficile bacteria, take over a gut microbiome.

  • But we just don't know enough about the complex interplay at work here yet.

  • For example, a transplant from an overweight donor cured a woman's diarrhea,

  • but contributed to her obesity down the line.

  • This caused some ways and another study tried to reverse the effect.

  • Poop transplants from slim people to obese ones,

  • gave them a more diverse microbiome,

  • and made them less sensitive to insulin.

  • Both things that also happen when people lose weight

  • We need to do a lot more science, to really understand

  • how our microbes make us healthy or sick.

  • But, whether we like it or not.

  • We need our microbiome, and it needs us.

  • We'll never have our bodies to ourselves.

  • But we have gained a powerful ally,

  • if we can just keep the peace.

Microbes are everywhere,

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B2 microbiome bacteria gut immune fast food healthy

How Bacteria Rule Over Your Body - The Microbiome

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    mommy posted on 2018/03/13
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