A nice post from the New York Times about how your gut health affects your general health. This may have implications for the use of antibiotics in all sorts of diseases in our body including the use of antibiotics for ear, sinus and throat infections.
Here’s an excerpt:
We may think of ourselves as just human, but we’re really a mass of microorganisms housed in a human shell. Every person alive is host to about 100 trillion bacterial cells. They outnumber human cells 10 to one and account for 99.9 percent of the unique genes in the body.
Katrina Ray, a senior editor of Nature Reviews, recently suggested that the vast number of microbes in the gut could be considered a “human microbial ‘organ’” and asked, “Are we more microbe than man?”
Our collection of microbiota, known as the microbiome, is the human equivalent of an environmental ecosystem. Although the bacteria together weigh a mere three pounds, their composition determines much about how the body functions and, alas, sometimes malfunctions.
Like ecosystems the world over, the human microbiome is losing its diversity, to the potential detriment of the health of those it inhabits.
Dr. Martin J. Blaser, a specialist in infectious diseases at the New York University School of Medicine and the director of the Human Microbiome Program, has studied the role of bacteria in disease for more than three decades. His research extends well beyond infectious diseases to autoimmune conditions and other ailments that have been increasing sharply worldwide.