The 10 Weirdest Facts You Need to Know About Your Microbiome
So, now that you know what the microbiome is, and how beautiful and beneficial it is for you, let's get into some of the nittier, grittier, funkier facts about this microscopic, inner universe of ours.
Here's 10 of our all-time favorites:
- There are more microorganisms in your body than there are stars in the Milky Way galaxy — numbering anywhere from 30 trillion to hundreds and hundreds of trillion.
- Your total microbiome weighs the same as your brain — about 3 pounds. Also, if all 3 pounds of this bacteria were scooped up, it would fit into a large soup can. Campbells, reinvented (sorry for the visual).
- You are born completely bacteria free. Babies are in a sterile zone with no microbiome at all, and their first introduction to planet earth bacteria is when they pass through the birth canal (a very crucial part of our development; shaping our immune system, digestive system, and brain function). And similarly, C-section born babies don’t get bathed in this good bacteria, but instead, attain their first microbes via the doctors hands, or whatever else is loitering around the birth room.
- A woman’s hands have more lactic acid bacteria, aka Lactobacillus, (found in yogurt, pickles, and wine) than a man’s. A man’s hands have more Corynebacterium cells (similar to those used for MSG flavoring) than a woman’s do. And no matter man or woman, your right and left hands have completely different microbial environments.
- Your gut contains 500 million neurons that are connected to the brain, through the Vagus nerve, producing 80-95% of the body’s serotonin levels (the neurotransmietter regulating mood, sleep and memory). This very fact is why gut disorders have been inextricably linked to depression and certain brain disorders such as autism.
- Like thumb prints, no two people alive (or not alive) can have the same mix of microbes.
- There are over 1,500 different species of bacteria in your belly button. In a study, one person’s navel was found to contain a bacteria only ever previously discovered in soil from Japan. Curiously, this person had never even been to Japan…
- A 10 second (highly intimate, please) kiss between two people has been found to result in the exchange of 80 million strands of bacteria.
- In your mouth alone, there are three times more bacteria strands than there are people in the world. And, most of these reproduce themselves every five hours.
- You swallow one liter, containing 100 billion strains of bacteria, of your own saliva every day.
Anyone else discovered super funky facts about the microbiome lately? Share in the comments below!