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(37,305 posts)
Sun Dec 30, 2012, 12:45 PM Dec 2012

Microbes maketh man People are not just people. They are an awful lot of microbes, too

It might sound perverse to claim bacterial cells and genes as part of the body, but the revolutionary case is a good one. For the bugs are neither parasites nor passengers. They are, rather, fully paid-up members of a community of which the human “host” is but a single (if dominating) member. This view is increasingly popular: the world’s leading scientific journals, Nature and Science, have both reviewed it extensively in recent months. It is also important: it will help the science and practice of medicine (see article).

The microbiome does many jobs in exchange for the raw materials and shelter its host provides. One is to feed people more than 10% of their daily calories. These are derived from plant carbohydrates that human enzymes are unable to break down. And not just plant carbohydrates. Mother’s milk contains carbohydrates called glycans which human enzymes cannot digest, but bacterial ones can.

This alone shows how closely host and microbiome have co-evolved over the years. But digestion is not the only nutritional service provided. The microbiome also makes vitamins, notably B2, B12 and folic acid. It is, moreover, capable of adjusting its output to its host’s needs and diet. The microbiomes of babies make more folic acid than do those of adults. And microbiomes in vitamin-hungry places like Malawi and rural Venezuela turn out more of these chemicals than do those in the guts of North Americans.

The microbiome also maintains the host’s health by keeping hostile interlopers at bay. An alien bug that causes diarrhoea, for instance, is as much an enemy of the microbiome as of the host. Both have an interest in zapping it. And both contribute to the task. Host and microbiome, then, are allies. But there is more to it than that. For the latest research shows their physiologies are linked in ways which make the idea of a human superorganism more than just a rhetorical flourish.

These links are most visible when they go wrong. A disrupted microbiome has been associated with a lengthening list of problems: obesity and its opposite, malnutrition; diabetes (both type-1 and type-2); atherosclerosis and heart disease; multiple sclerosis; asthma and eczema; liver disease; numerous diseases of the intestines, including bowel cancer; and autism. The details are often obscure, but in some cases it looks as if bugs are making molecules that help regulate the activities of human cells. If these signals go wrong, disease is the consequence. This matters because it suggests doctors have been looking in the wrong place for explanations of these diseases. It also suggests a whole new avenue for treatment. If an upset microbiome causes illness, settling it down might effect a cure.



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Microbes maketh man People are not just people. They are an awful lot of microbes, too (Original Post) dkf Dec 2012 OP
More proof that... Speck Tater Dec 2012 #1
Great insight...which leads to this: dkf Dec 2012 #8
Fecal transfusion is already being done Warpy Dec 2012 #2
Humans have 2 to 5 lbs of microbes in them. JimDandy Dec 2012 #3
Great TED on the topic of bacteria. rainin Dec 2012 #4
I would not be surprised if Eva Edelman discusses their role in mental wellness in her 2on2u Dec 2012 #5
I'm just one big happy family LiberalEsto Dec 2012 #6
This explains much about DU I think Fumesucker Dec 2012 #7

Speck Tater

(10,618 posts)
1. More proof that...
Sun Dec 30, 2012, 12:50 PM
Dec 2012

the idea than mankind can live outside of, or apart from nature is just ridiculous.

Like it or not, we are part and parcel of planet Earth. Our destiny is not in the dark and cold of inhospitable space, or in domes on the surface of a distant poisonous planet, but here, as a part of the complex system that is life on Earth.

If we destroy this planet we destroy our only hope at continued existence as a species. There is no escaping that simple fact.



(37,305 posts)
8. Great insight...which leads to this:
Sun Dec 30, 2012, 03:55 PM
Dec 2012

Deforestation in the Amazon equals net losses of diversity for microbial communities.

Research from an international team of microbiologists has revealed a new concern about deforestation in the Amazon rainforest – a troubling net loss in the diversity among the microbial organisms responsible for a functioning ecosystem.

The group, which includes professors from The University of Texas at Arlington, University of Oregon, University of Massachusetts, Michigan State University and University of Sao Paulo, sampled a 100 square kilometer area, about 38 square miles, in the Fazenda Nova Vida site in Rondônia, Brazil, a location where rainforest has been converted to agricultural use. Their findings in part validated previous research showing that bacteria in the soil became more diverse over the years, as it was converted to pasture.

But their findings contradicted prior thinking by showing that the loss of restricted ranges for different kinds of bacteria communities resulted in a biotic homogenization and net loss of diversity overall. Scientists worry that the loss of genetic variation in bacteria across a converted forest could reduce ecosystem resilience.

"We have known for a long time that conversion of rainforest land in the Amazon for agriculture results in a loss of biodiversity in plants and animals. Now we know that microbial communities which are so important to the ecosystem also suffer significant losses," said Jorge Rodrigues, the University of Texas at Arlington assistant biology professor who was part of the research team and is first author on a recent publication of the findings.



(111,873 posts)
2. Fecal transfusion is already being done
Sun Dec 30, 2012, 12:59 PM
Dec 2012

to combat the worst kinds of hospital acquired diarrhea in severely compromised patients. It's about time they started to think in those terms. We'd die without all our friendly gut bugs. Replacing them after antibiotics have killed them off is essential. Yogurt with live cultures will start to work in healthy people. Poo transfusions work best in extremely sick ones.


(7,318 posts)
3. Humans have 2 to 5 lbs of microbes in them.
Sun Dec 30, 2012, 01:10 PM
Dec 2012

"It also suggests a whole new avenue for treatment."

So we need to keep them happy, healthy and working with us alright.



(1,843 posts)
5. I would not be surprised if Eva Edelman discusses their role in mental wellness in her
Sun Dec 30, 2012, 01:35 PM
Dec 2012



"The most useful volume on nutritional methods for mental illness in 20 years... A valuable resource for researchers, clinicans and families alike." -- William J. Walsh, Ph.D. <br />
A magnificent and needed contribution ot the field of mental health... A superb work... A beacon of hope." -- Ralph Golan, M.D.<br />
"An invaluable resource... This book will enlighten us all in the medical profession, and will give great hope and comfort to patients. I recommend it most enthusiastically." -- Oscar Rogers Kruesi, M.D., F.A.C.P.<br /> --Back cover notes, Natural Healing for Schizophrenia

"It is a daunting task for persons with schizophrenia to find objective information to make informed decisions on therapy. Edelman's excellent book addresses that need: a resource which brings together the rich diversity of orthomolecular treatments. This book is informative and accessible to those with schizophrenia and their families, and is a valuable reference for health care practitioners." -- Greg Shilhab --Nutrition and Mental Health, 1996

"If psychiatry had the good sense to adopt this approach there would be an enormous saving of pain and suffering. -- Abram Hoffer, M.D., Ph.D., Father of Orthomolecular Medicine --Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, Spring 1997
About the Author

Eva Edelman, is a nutritionist, herbalist and health educator, with twenty-five years experience in these fields. Edelman lectures and writes extensively on natural approaches to mental health, and appears on media nationwide. She has just completed a second volume, "Natural Healing for Bipolar Disorder."


(45,851 posts)
7. This explains much about DU I think
Sun Dec 30, 2012, 02:28 PM
Dec 2012

Hmm...Come to think of it it explains a lot about dealing with the opposite sex too.

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