Deteriorating human microbiome – An emerging global health challenge
The study of human microbiome and its relationship with health and disease is one of the most exciting areas of research in health all over the world, especially after the failure of human genome project to deliver its expected results.
Our body is composed of 30 trillion human cells. But it is host to close to 100 trillion bacterial and fungal cells. 70 – 90% of all cells in our body are non human. They reside on every inch of our skin, in our nose, mouth, ears, in our oesophagus, stomach and most abundantly in our gut. They are not a random phenomenon but have co-evolved with us humans over millions of years. Collectively these bacteria weigh about 3 pounds. The more we read about research on microbiome or microbiota, the name given to all these friendly symbiotic partners, the more we get interested in their role in health and disease.
According to Martin J. Blaser, director of the Human Microbiome Program, who has also served as the president of Infectious Disease Society of America, in his best seller ‘Missing Microbes' (1), “It is our microbiome that keeps us healthy and parts of it are disappearing. The reason for this disaster is all around us – overuse of antibiotics in humans and animals, caesarean sections and widespread use of sanitizers and antiseptics, to name just a few.”
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