Everyone has heard of the old phrase, “You are what you eat.”
Here is another one for you to think on. “You are who you carry around inside and outside your body.”
That’s right folks, for better or for worse you have some forty trillion bacterial and other single-celled riders on what you think of as your body. Some are dangerous if they are allowed to grow out of control. A lot of them are neutral or even beneficial. Some are even absolutely necessary if you are to strike the balance with your environment that we commonly call good health.
Forty trillion, give or take a dozen or two, is about ten times the number of cells that your genome uses to form and shape your body. So you clearly are both the person your genome dictates as your cells grow and flourish and die and are replaced; and the person that your riders depend on for sustenance and safety from more hostile players in the grand and glorious world of biota.
Many of these relationships between your cells and those riders are positive and even necessary. We find more ways that disrupting those relationships can injure your health every day. So you are not just feeding your genomic cells when you eat you are feeding your biota.
It also follows that when you are taking medicine you are also medicating your easy riders. In at least the case of antibiotic use that can be injurious to the good guys in the crowd. Since everything that happens in your body should work to maintain the dynamic equilibrium between all of the cells that maintains our health that sort of disruption can be a problem.
Antibiotics are hugely valuable in curing bacterial infections. They save millions of lives annually around the world. So if you are given an antibiotic by your doctor for a specific condition you take the full run of that little miracle drug. Then you try to help out your little helpers that have been slaughtered by the billions.
The three main ways to do that are
- Supplement your diet with something called probiotics which consists of a large number of live bacteria of the most beneficial varieties.
- Support your local biota using various foods that help them flourish and even a few supplements that add zest to their lives.
- Consume foods that contain millions of these little helpers in both their live and spore based forms.
Tomorrow the basics of choosing a good probiotic supplement and rebuilding those small but vital buddies in your vitals.