I remember being a kid and being told that ‘germs’ were all around me. It was the beginning of the antibacterial age. In science class they told me that I was only free from bacteria right after I turned off the water in the shower. As soon as I stepped out germs latched onto me like the plague.
Well, they were dead wrong. We are made of bacteria. Our microbiome contains more so called bacteria in it than the trillions of cells that make up our body. This fascinating supraorganism that is the human body has a massive impact on our health. I want to discuss some of those implications and cover how important those microbes really are!
The Antibacterial Age
We’re all a germa-phob deep down inside. The finger rests on the trigger of the lysol, ready to spray down anything in its path. The antibacterial handsoap dispenses with a simple wave of the hand in bathrooms around the United States.
Heck, we all tote around the hand sanitizer in our carry ons. We douse ourselves with it every time we touch a railing. What if this weren’t good for you?
The antibacterial age has been raging along. People think that germs latch onto you and you need to kill them all. Even if it means killing yourself?
That may not be far from the truth. Science is revealing that our bodies are made of so-called germs or bacteria. There’s a huge study that is ongoing being funding by the National Institute of Health that is changing the way we see the world.
The Human Microbiome Project
This study, the Human Microbiome Project, is altering reality. It’s revealing the fact that there are more microbes in our body than actual protein coding genes.
We are literally made up of microbes. We contain more of them than actual cells. Meaning, each individual human is a city of bacteria. A being that carries trillions of other little beings around, all coexisting.
Functions of the Microbiome.
In the human microbiome project they have outlined some of the major functions that our bacteria carry out. I want to cover some of them here with you. They may seem surprising but this is from a peer reviewed journal. This is serious science, ladies and gentlemen.
- Absorption of nutrients and synthesis of Vitamins. This may seem like a no brainer. I mean, your gut digests your food, right? Well, many will think that the nutritive value of food is static. One might say, “if it contains 100% of my daily need for viatmin C than I’m all set for the day.” This may be a fatal mistake. Your gut flora influences how much of that vitamin C you are actually using. Essentially, having bad gut flora may be causing malnourishment.
- Xenobiotic Metabolism. A Xenobiotic is any substance that is foreign to the body. So being able to metabolize these foreign objects otherwise known as toxins is a task assigned to your gut flora. Carcinogens are handled through our gut and thus our gut flora. If you have poor gut health it may be a biomarker for future disease.
- Gut Wall Cell Renewal. Ever heard of leaky gut? Well, it’s when the gut lining has been damaged. According to this project one of the best things you can do to heal leaky gut is to reseed your gut with good bacteria. Good gut bacteria is what allows cell renewal and the healing of your gut lining.
- Maturation of The Immune System. Our immune system essentially comes from our gut. Our gut bacteria teaches our body what is an enemy and what is not. We, as the host, are directly impacted by our gut health. If our gut health is bad than our ability to fight the actual bad germs is severely hindered.
- Behavior. That’s right, the microbiome effects your behavior. It has been found time and time again to influence depression, anxiety and a host of other pyschiatric maladies. Many studies are even linking the gut’s health to things like Autism and Schizophrenia. The science is remarkable and may change the face of psychiatric disorders.
Put Down The Antibacterials
With knowing all of this you cannot continue to splash antibacterial hand sanitizer all the way up your arm every time you sneeze. It truly is not good for you.
If your gut flora has trained your immune system correctly you shouldn’t have to deal with sickness. So, toss out the hand sanitizer and avoid the antibacterials. They truly are killing the best part of you, your microbiome.
What did you find most fascinating about this article? Let us know in the comments.