Germaphobes, beware. Thousands of species of microbes are currently living on your skin and in your gut. A new study shows that perfectly healthy people can share their bodies with more than 10,000 germ species.
But don’t worry. It’s actually good for your health.
The Human Microbiome Project reports that nearly everybody has some type of harmful bacteria living on and in their bodies. But when a person is healthy, those germs seem to simply coexist with other helpful microbes.
But why? Researchers are currently investigating why the “bad” microbes attack the human body in some cases and not in others.
Dr. Phillip Tarr of Washington University at St. Louis, said:
“This is a whole new way of looking at human biology and human disease, and it’s awe-inspiring… These bacteria are not passengers. They are metabolically active. As a community, we now have to reckon with them like we have to reckon with the ecosystem in a forest or a body of water.”
According to the Times Reporter, different microbes live on different parts of your body. The report describes the human body as its own world, where certain germ species make up a rain forest ecosystem on your skin, while different germ species create an ocean-like ecosystem in your intestines.
The researchers collected tissue samples from hundreds of volunteers to examine the bacterial DNA. The researches found that there are 10 bacterial cells for every human cell. The bacterial cells are so small, but so numerous, that they could make up to 3 percent of a person’s body mass. That means that a 200-pound person carries as much as 6 pounds of bacteria.