Your microbiome (part 1)

You might have heard about the human microbiome. The microbiome consists of the micro-organisms that are in or on a human body. Things like bacteria, viruses, amoeba, etc.
Everybody is talking about this now, and new research shows that many conditions can be a result of issues with the microbiome.
Theoretically, the number of micro-organisms outnumber human cells by 10:1 (actually it’s more like 7:1, but most places say 10:1).
This leads to a philosophical qs – are you you OR are you your bacteria?

That is why many items in a market will have a probiotic or prebiotic branding, but that may be a marketing gimmick. Most bacteria need anaerobic environments (i.e. env without oxygen).

Many years ago, I had blogged about this –/2012/06/26/describing-you-as-your-bacteria/

I also paid to get my microbiome tested from a company in San Francisco. this was many years ago, and since then these kind of services have sprung up all over.The idea of the testing is to generate a microbiome profile (as in what their species are)., so then it could be compared with other people – the idea being to highlight differences. This was all 5 years ago, so the field would have grown by now.
Anyway, the company is called uBiome at
The co-founder is Zachary Apte a PhD from UCSF.

So, what are the practical uses of all this?
– Researchers think that instead of hospitals being sterile places, they could be sprayed with good bacteria, in order to overwhelm the bad bacteria.
– Many liquid soaps and hand-washes contain a chemical called Triclosan, which kills all bacteria. Just today, I read that the FDA in the US (which regulates food and drugs, etc.) ordered removing a few chemicals from soap.
– The microbiome also can affect allergies (that is another post).
– The microbiome could show that antibiotics can be bad for you, because they kill all bacteria (both good and bad).
– Knowing about the microbiome can greatly affect dental health, which helped me a lot. Many years ago, I greatly reduced my sugar intake, and ever since, I have not had cavities or any scales/tartar/deposits on my teeth.

That is why the field of microbiology is so important right now.


About Ra

Software Engineer (worked in corporations to healthcare start-ups), Geek, Musician, Artist, Fellow Human - living in the covergence space of healthcare, software, interaction design, the quantified self and genetics, music and spirituality
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