You certainly know that bacteria, fungi, and viruses which are all microscopic creatures can make you ill. But do you know trillions of microbes reside in and on your body? Most aren’t harmful at all. They are there to aid you in digesting food, provide protection against infection, and even help you in reproduction. Whilst we tend to focus on wiping out bad microbes, taking care of good ones may be even more vital.
What does science say about microbes?
Surprisingly, microbes outnumber your own cells by 10 to 1. Dr. Martin J. Blaser, who works at New York University School of Medicine, says the newest estimate is that there are 10 trillion cells in humans and about 100 trillion bacterial cells.
There are innovative techniques that permit scientists to research these rich microbial communities and the microbiome, which are their genes. NIH introduced the Human Microbiome Project, in 2007, to study microbes living in and on the body.
Researchers from almost eighty institutions also published a series of reports creating a new landmark. The reports say that over 10,000 different species reside in the human body. The microbiome offers more genes that responsible for human survival than the human genome itself. The figures are 8 million vs. 22,000.
Role of useful microbes:
One of the most significant things microbes do is to aid with digestion. The blend of microbes in your gut can have an impact on how well you use and store energy derived from food. It was seen in laboratory experiments that relocating bacteria from certain mice which were obese to normal ones boosted fat in the normal mice. Microbes in our intestines may play vital roles in how we absorb calories.
Microbes are also vital for your skin. Your skin‘s health relies on the frail balance between your own cells and the microbes living on its surface. Dr. Julie Segre of NIH says the healthy bacteria fill all those little niches in order to ward off dangerous bacteria from gaining a foothold onto the skin.
Microbes also help safeguard the immune system. NIH scientists found out those special mice that were born and bred to be germ-free having weaker immune function than normal mice that have vibrant bacterial communities and several different immune cells and molecules on their skin. It is because of the exposure of germ-free mice to Staphylococcus epidermidis. It is among the most widespread bacteria on human skin. This particular bacteria species boosted immune function in the mouse skin. The mice with S. epidermidis could safeguard against a parasite, whereas the bacteria-free mice could not.
There is strong proof that the microbes present in the reproductive tract influence reproductive health of females and help defend against disease. A study conducted recently also pointed out that a varied community of microbes resides in the male urinary tract and on the penis. Researchers of NIH are investigating other positive roles for microbes.
How our lifestyle affects good microbes
Blaser and his team found out that changes in our microbiome in the early stages of life may cause weight problems later. He noted we might be altering our microbiome for the worse. Using antibiotics often is a major cause.
Blaser’s team in one recent NIH study discovered that providing a low dose of antibiotics affected the microbiomes in the gut of young mice. It also changed how the mice used sugars and fats. After 49 days, up to 15% more fat was seen in treated mice than untreated mice.
This study concludes that gut bacteria can have an effect on both appetite and how you use energy in food.
Blaser, his team, and Dr. Leonardo Trasande analyzed data in another study from more than 11,000 children. They said that infants who were treated with antibiotics might be prone to becoming overweight.
How to take care of helpful microbes
Good habits like washing your hands before eating or after using the bathroom are important for removing harmful microbes.
Segre says the lotions and creams you apply can offer a fence to defend your skin’s moisture. But he also pointed out it is like putting a fertilizer onto the microbial garden. It changes the food source for the bacteria thriving on your skin. Though there can’t be a right answer about which skin products are best for you, experimenting is the key.
Blaser says that when you go overboard in trying to kill the bad bacteria it has a collateral effect on the good microbes.
When it comes to your microbes, you’re never alone. Just make sure you drink ZanaJuices daily to boost your microbiome.