Our world is small.
Without microbes and bacteria human life would cease to exist. These tiny organisms are the oldest form of life on Earth, and they inhabit every surface of our bodies inside and out. They exist both in and on everything we can see, taste, or touch. Where there is air, there are microbes.
The number of bacteria on the Earth is estimated to be 5 million trillion trillion. That is a 5 with 30 zeros after it! If you line them up, they would reach all the way to the moon. That’s pretty incredible when you take into account the size of each microbe. There are more microbes present on one hand than there are people in the world, and here we are, living in this microbial soup.
The human body is made up of primarily microbes. While human cells are larger then microbes, microbes outnumber human cells by ten to one. The majority of bacteria in our system have a symbiotic, or mutually beneficial, relationship with our body. This is especially true in the human gut where 1200-1400 species of bacteria live and thrive.
Bacteria play a integral role in the health and function of the human body. They protect our skin from infections and help us digest and absorb nutrients from our food. They help us produce essential vitamins and they work to prevent cavities in our mouths. Bacteria control the acid level in our stomachs and boost our immune systems.
So why are we waging war on bacteria? Why do we have these super bugs that are adapting quicker then our antibiotics? And most importantly, are we healthier or worse off now? We will take a look at these questions in next week’s blog!