Monday, March 10, 2008

“they suddenly noticed each other, synchronized their motions, and danced together indefinitely,”

Microbiota, the bacteria, archeae, and yeasts that cohabit with us in a commensal union around a shared table. there are 10 times as many bacterial cells in our bodies than human cells.

We know so little about them that the estimated number of bacteria species in the body ranges from 500 to 100,000. every square inch of our skin, mouth, stomach, and digestive tract are slicked with another scale of life.

while we can survive without their assistance it would not be pleasant; 30% of our useful calories come from carbohydrates bacteria have broken into simple blocks our pedigreed cells can stomach, the hormones they secrete direct our cells where and when to store fat, bactera synthesize vitamin k, folic acid, and B7.

we can be considered obligatory mutualists with this zoo. yet there are hordes of microorganisms that can make us ill or perhaps just change our behavior (Taxoplasma gondii may makes men insecure while giving a warmheart to the women... HERE)

one of the most important functions of our native flora is to keep the pathogenic types from setting up shop and giving us health troubles. we are large vessels that maintain optimal conditions for bacteria, fungus, and archaea, three of the oldest organisms on the planet. we are their habitat and just as we depend on them they depend on us. the wars they wage on our behalf, the mental clarity of health they give us, go unnoticed and we shovel in sugars and they prosper. like automatons programmed to spread & multiply, providing innumerable guts & hands that share beds, have sex, exchange money, stay warm, and continually engulf food. the perfect shell.