Microbes Role in Our Health
“The three pounds of microbes that you carry around with you might be more important than every single gene you carry around in your genome,” says Rob Knight, a pioneer in studying human microbes.
Microorganisms, also known as microbes, are a fascinating part of our bodies that we still do not have a full grasp of understanding. We know that microbes play a crucial role in our immune system and the digestive system, and we have even turned certain ones into probiotics that are available in supplements and food additives.
However, the differences in the microbes across our body are tremendous. Rob Knight, a pioneer in the field of studying human microorganisms, said at a TED Talk in 2014, "We've just found out in recent years that the microbes in different parts of the body are amazingly different from one another. So if I look at just one person's microbes, in the mouth and in the gut, it turns out that the difference between those two microbial communities is enormous. It's bigger than the difference between the microbes in [a coral] reef and the microbes in [a] prairie."
This is absolutely amazing when you think about it. Right in front of you are two parts of the body that are simply a couple feet away, and yet, their differences are so vast that it is equivalent to the difference of two areas that are hundreds of miles apart on earth. WATCH ROB KNIGHT'S TED TALK
There is so much to be said about these unique organisms in our bodies. Studies have shown that exposure to certain microbes growing up can be the reason allergies, obesity, and other early developed health problems exist.
One example was the study of babies born naturally compared to babies born by cesarean section. The microbes for the natural babies is vaginal, which apparently has many benefits in the early development of the child. Babies born via c-section are initially covered in skin microbes, which has been linked to developmental problems. Researchers are still testing for the reasons why and finding ways to introduce vaginal microbes to c-section babies to help prevent these early issues.
There are even studies and trials that help to introduce good microbes to combat things like obesity and allergies as well as various illnesses and others problems.
A hope for the future is that these microbial transplants will not only heal and cure physical ailments, but that researchers are searching to find ways to even cure psychological ones like depression and autism. This is a fascinating scientific discovery and venture, and although it is still in the early stages of research, the future is bright, and we may come to a better understanding of the human body than ever before because of it.