Sep 29 2011

Our Personal Ecosystem – We Are What We Eat


Did you know that our bodies are more bacterial than human?

There are so many bacteria living on our skin, in our nose and (especially) in our bowel, that only 1% of the DNA that we carry around is human. The rest is bacterial.

Our body is made up of 10 trillion cells. In addition, we are home to 100 trillion microbial cells, consisting of thousands of different species.

We need these bacteria. They play an improtant role in our immune system, help to break down the food we eat, and produce some vitamins on which we depend.

This ‘microbiome‘ is all the rage. It is increasingly recognsied that our general health is dependent on the composition of the bacteria that we host. Scientists suggest that ‘we are what we eat’ because the food that we have affects the makeup of our microbiome so directly.

Wired magazine this week has published an atlas of this ‘microbiome’, with a discussion of how it affects our general health.

And Norman Swan on the Health Report has recently discussed  how our diet affects the microbes in our bowels with Professor Charles Mackay, Director of Immunology and Inflammation at Monash University.




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