You are a Superorganism – Part Two
In last month’s blog we began a discussion on a new paradigm in human biology based on the book by Rodney Dietert PhD, entitled “The Human Superorganism.” To read last month’s article go to https://georgetownmarket.com/you-are-a-superorganism/. This month I will discuss our microbial partners, what the microbiome is, how it affects our health and specifically its relationship to noncommunicable diseases (NCDs).
Scientists have estimated that you have by cell count ten times more microbial cells than mammalian cells in your body. Humans have approximately 22,000 mammalian genes. We carry about ten million microbial genes! Microbial genes include bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites which are called your second genome. While it is difficult to change mammalian genes, it is relatively easy to change microbial genes which have the potential for improving our health and well-being. Unfortunately, humans have become obsessed with killing microbes with the mindset that microbes are harmful or even deadly. If we indiscriminately wage war on microbes, we wage war on ourselves. The widespread use of antibiotics is a prime example. Taking an antibiotic destroys friendly bacteria which has an adverse effect on our health.
The definition of the human microbiome is simply the collection of microbes that live on and in us. It refers to both the microbial cells and their genes. It is also known as the microbiota. It includes virtually every body part that has some exposure to the external environment. This includes our airways, gastrointestinal tract, reproductive tract, and skin. Connecting a balanced immune system to a healthy microbiome from birth is essential to good health.
The status of the microbiome can affect both if and when an NCD will develop and whether treatments will be effective. Different NCDs can have their own microbiome profile, a type of fingerprint associated with them. For each NCD, research shows that the disease is highly associated with a dysfunctional or incomplete microbiome. Often, a treatment for a NCD will be ineffective until the microbiome is corrected.
Next month we will discuss the six prime factors that cause NCDs along with the four pillars of NCDs, the role of precision medicine and microbiome analysis. Stay tuned!
For more information contact me at rickATgeorgetownmarket.com.