“If you like science fiction, I’m going to open with this,” begins David Granet. “You have been invaded. And the invaders are 10 times more than the number of cells in your body. They affect your health, they affect much about what your life does, and about who you are, and what you look like. What are these? It’s your microbiome.”
Microbiome researcher, Rob Knight, Phd joins host David Granet, MD for a fascinating discussion about our massive microbiome.
These tiny organisms have been with us since birth and we continue to acquire them and lose them based on our environment, our diet, and our age. Indeed, various parts of our bodies have different microbiobes which can include bacteria, fungi, and other single-celled organisms.
But don’t panic just yet! According to Knight, we don’t want to wage war on our microbiobes. Instead, he says, “You want to think of them more as a landscape you want to nurture rather than as a battlefield where you want to eliminate everything that is not you.”
So, how might our microbiome affect our health?
Here’s the story of two mice: one skinny and one fat. Each mouse has exactly the same genetics, eats the same foods, and exercises the same amount. Researchers insert the microbiome of one mouse into the other. The skinny mouse becomes fat. The fat mouse becomes skinny.
And it’s not just mice. Our human microbiome has also been shown to impact our health. Rob Knight works with the America Gut project which has collected the microbiome of thousands of people and continues to learn more about how it relates to our health and even our behavior.
“If we can start putting together that map of people who have different medical conditions and the kinds of micriobes that lead them to different places on that microbial map,” says Knight, “then we can tell you a lot more about what’s likely to happen to you, what’s happened already, and potentially what you should do about it.”
“It’s really incredible how they run us,” says Dr. Granet.
Learn more about our incredible microbiome and how it helps to define who we are.