Microbiome Awareness Month – Mom’s Bacteria with you for life

During this time of year of giving thanks, don’t forget to be thankful for the amazing gift of bacteria from Mom.  There’s even a name for it – the maternal microbiome.

There was a time when scientists thought unborn babies were bacteria-free.  Not only is this not the case, if a baby is delivered vaginally, she receives a dose of bacteria from her mother as she passes through the birth canal, getting covered in a microbial film that includes species which will help her digest her first meal.

A University of Idaho study found that there are even important bacteria in breast milk, meaning that the guts of babies given formula differ from those fed on breast milk.  Your bacteria play a vital part in your health, and always have.

So, during this month of gratitude and giving thanks, don’t forget to include on that thankful list the bacteria you inherited from Mom.

For more information on microbes and health read our classic blog post  

 

If you are interested in learning more about your health and your microbiome come check out our clinical microbiome test SmartJane™.

Microbiome Awareness Month — Pipes Bursting with Bacteria

A team of five University of Virginia scientists studied why sinks have been linked to outbreaks of pathogenic bacteria. When the sink faucets were run once a day, the bacteria in the pipes were either somewhat flushed away, or remained at least partly in place.

When the sinks weren’t turned on frequently, a biofilm of bacteria began climbing the pipework.  In just eight days, there was a substantial presence of microbes in the sink’s strainers.  When these sinks were turned on again, the bacteria was spread from the strainer to the countertop surrounding the sink, from where it could be potentially distributed further, either by individuals touching the surface, or via objects placed upon it.

Researchers from the University of Arizona have shown that filling a bathroom sink with warm water containing a cup of household bleach, leaving it for 10 minutes, then draining the sink, reduced bacteria around the drain by more than 90% when done three times a week.

For more information on microbes and plumbing, read our classic blog post  

If you are interested in learning more about your health and your microbiome come check out our clinical microbiome test SmartGut™.

Microbiome Awareness Month – Microbes and fitness

As the new year approaches, so too does the focus on getting fit.  

In one study, obese individuals appeared to have fewer different bacterial species in their guts than lean individuals.  The research identified a pretty big genetic component to visceral fat mass: heritability was responsible for 0.7 (or 70%) of the variance, so at least to some degree, it seems that you have a genetic predisposition to end up with a similar body shape to your parents, and this may be partly due to having a microbiome like Mom (or Dad).

As for increasing bacterial diversity, the study’s lead researcher, Dr. Michelle Beaumont, suggests that eating a broadly varied diet can help.

So, during this month of self-improvement, focus on what you can control and the little changes that you can make, like diet, that can positively shape and impact your health.

For more information, read our classic blog post.

 

If you are interested in learning more about your health and your microbiome, come check out our clinical microbiome test SmartJane™.

Microbiome Awareness Month – Poop: Flushing a Fortune

Did you know that your poop contains gold?

Scientists have detected microscopic amounts of precious metals in poop – including gold, silver, and platinum.  Apparently, the metals get into us through our interactions with a wide range of items, including hair products and detergents.  Among other mechanisms, microscopic fragments can probably be simply inhaled or end up in your food.

Dr. Kathleen Smith of the US Geological Survey has estimated that the annual output of one million people contains elements valued at $13 million.

Although some critics suggest it wouldn’t be economically viable to harvest these elements, the USGS suggested that the gold in poop is at a level they describe as “a minimal mineral deposit.” If this equivalent occurred in rock, it would be considered a potential mining prospect.

For more information on microbes, precious metals and poop on microbes and cars, read our classic blog post.

If you are interested in learning more about your health and your microbiome come check out our clinical microbiome test SmartGut™.

Microbiome Awareness Month – Copper: Your Microbe Resistant Ally

‘Tis the season of colds and flus and we are always searching for ways to stay healthy. Short of staying indoors all winter and wearing a hazmat suit when venturing out, you may want to consider the power of copper as it has amazing anti-pathogenic properties.

In 2011, scientists at the University of Bern in Switzerland pointed out that a significant proportion of many pathogens die on copper services. The phenomenon has come to be known as contact killing. Going back centuries, copper was frequently used to store water after it was observed that water contained in copper vessels was of better quality than that held in containers made from other materials, developing little or no visible slime.

In fact, the Greeks, Romans, and Aztecs all used copper or copper compounds to treat conditions such as headaches, burns, ear infections, and intestinal worms. In 19th-century France, copper workers in Paris appeared to develop an immunity to cholera, an infection of the small intestine by certain strains of the bacterium Vibrio cholerae.

For more information on microbes and copper, read our classic blog post.

If you are interested in learning more about your health and your microbiome come check out our clinical microbiome test SmartGut™.

Microbiome Awareness Month – Health – Part Chance, Part Choice

Studies suggest that the exposure — or lack thereof — to microorganisms in our early years could contribute to predispositions toward allergies and asthma, among other conditions. Certain babies are more at risk for these conditions when they possess low levels of common bacteria such as Bifidobacterium, Akkermansia, and Faecalibacterium and a relatively increased presence of fungi (Candida and Rhodotorula).  At just three years of age, our microbiome stabilizes and roughly resembles the profile of an adult.

Lifestyle can also impact our microbiome and wellbeing.  For example, a Western diet — typically consisting of low fiber, high sugar, animal-based protein, and processed food — tends to generate a different gut microbiome than a non-Western diet. A traditional Western diet can be a risk factor for some chronic diseases, including irritable bowel disease (IBD).

So, while some of your microbiome health is determined by environment and exposure, there is also much we can do to positively impact our health, especially in terms of diet.  Take time this month to do what you can to make your microbiome healthier and happier.

 

For more information on factors influencing microbiome health, read our classic blog post.

 

If you are interested in learning more about your health and your microbiome come check out our clinical microbiome test SmartGut™.

Microbiome Awareness Month – Showering in Microbes!

What’s in your showerhead? We’re so glad you asked! Your showerhead might just be harboring bacteria, then blasting it onto your body, and possibly even into your lungs.

A study carried out at the University of Colorado in 2009 by Dr. Norman Pace, a professor of molecular, cellular, and developmental biology, studied how the microorganisms that can cause pulmonary (lung) disease can accumulate in the showerhead. His research showed that while these microbes may be present at levels of 0.1-1% in the water coming into the shower, it may make up to 70-80% of the biofilm in the showerhead itself.

In a 2009 interview, Dr. Pace suggested that breathing in this particular bacteria could cause a “low-grade cough that persists for months,” making you feel “lousy, weak,” and leading to, perhaps, “breathing difficulties.”
So, as you take stock this time of year, you may want to stock up on cleaners for your bathroom, or at least a new showerhead.

For more information on microbes, read our classic blog post.

If you are interested in learning more about your health and your microbiome come check out our clinical microbiome test SmartGut™.