Microbiome Awareness Month — Your Emotional Gut

While there are plenty of things you may attribute your mood to – the weather, your job, life in general – have you thought about how your gut microbiome may be influencing your mood?

Researchers suggest that alongside plenty of other aspects of health, your microbiome has a profound effect on the way your mind works. Low levels of certain species of bacteria in your gut could be associated with depression or anxiety. Continue reading “Microbiome Awareness Month — Your Emotional Gut”

Microbiome Awareness Month! The 5-Second Rule?

During this month of frantic, frenzied days, as you are running out the door, noshing on something, what if your snack falls on the floor?  

You’ve probably come across the “Five-Second Rule,” a kind of working hypothesis that supposedly tells you whether it’s safe to eat an item of food you’ve dropped on the floor.  This rule was the subject of a rigorous study conducted by Rutgers University in New Jersey, published in the American Society for Microbiology journal. Continue reading “Microbiome Awareness Month! The 5-Second Rule?”

Microbiome Awareness Month! Nails – Bacteria Havens under Your Nails?

Getting your nails done? Read on…

Regardless of how much you might wash your hands, there are always bacteria present on the surface of your palm, which is known as the stratum cornea. Basically this is your good guys fighting off the bad ones.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reminds us, of course, just how important it is to keep hands clean. It says good hygiene can prevent about 30% of diarrhea-related illnesses, and around 20% of respiratory infections (colds, for example).

Besides the skin surface of your hands, there are ten other places on your hands in which bacteria can really flourish: under your fingernails. There can be a ton of microbes lurking in the space under your nails.

In 1989 a group at the VA Medical Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota looked into bacteria beneath artificial nails, finding that nurses wearing them had considerably more bacteria beneath them than were found under natural nails.
Their recommendation? Short, clean nails are better, even if the salon industry might disagree.

For more information on microbes and nails, 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™.

Do Bacteria Say Cheese When They Have Their Photo Taken?

Microbial photography. It’s a thing.

Right now, there’s a good chance that you have a sophisticated digital camera in your pocket, in the shape of a smartphone.

There’s also a high likelihood that it has a lens on both its front and back surfaces, enabling that extraordinary 21st-century technological breakthrough, the selfie.

We’re not sure how they worked it out, but it was estimated that as of December last year, there were 282 million selfies on Instagram.

It’s certainly come a long way since 1826 (or perhaps 1827) when the Frenchman Joseph Nicéphore Niépce took what is now the earliest surviving photograph made in a camera.

It wasn’t a selfie, of course, but the view from his window in the Burgundy region of France recorded on a piece of polished pewter coated with a type of bitumen, and apparently requiring an exposure of several days.

Not very practical for that duck face thing, then.

It took a while, but photography slowly – then rapidly – evolved, using a wide range of techniques that all basically boiled down to chemicals changing color in the presence of light.

However, maybe you’re thinking along the same lines as us: if chemicals can do this, what about bacteria? Continue reading “Do Bacteria Say Cheese When They Have Their Photo Taken?”

The Bowel-Loosening Properties of, Uh, Bookstores

Bookstores and their bathrooms.

One of the most delightful aspects of writing these weekly newsletters is the tips we receive from readers and other members of the uBiome team.

Sometimes they take us to the most unexpected places, but today’s tip must surely rank at the very top of unexpected place-ness. Continue reading “The Bowel-Loosening Properties of, Uh, Bookstores”

Labor Day, Lactobacillus, and Workers in Leather

Let’s hear it for everyone in bacterial businesses.

On Monday, the United States will pay tribute to American workers by giving many the day off. Labor Day is always the first Monday in September, and this year it falls on September 3rd.

Just as you might expect, we at uBiome naturally take our hats off to the American workforce, of which we’re proud to be a part.

And also, just as you might expect, we’re particularly keen to take our hats off to those American workers who work with bacteria, one way or another. Continue reading “Labor Day, Lactobacillus, and Workers in Leather”

After the Eclipse Is Over: Microbes and, Uh, Sun-Powered Laundry Drying

Bacterial life on the 3rd rock from the sun.

Imagine for a moment that the sun was the size of a yoga ball.

The moon would then be roughly the same diameter as the tiny sphere on the end of a sewing pin.

In spite of this 400:1 size differential, for a few minutes yesterday, our friendly local star and our one and only moon appeared to be precisely the same size in the sky, allowing one to cover the other almost exactly.

Here in San Francisco, those who ventured onto the roof of our building were rewarded with – rather than the total solar eclipse that was experienced in a band across the United States – a banana in the sky. Continue reading “After the Eclipse Is Over: Microbes and, Uh, Sun-Powered Laundry Drying”

Mother’s Milk, Microbes, and a 100,000-Year-Old Munchkin

It’s National Breastfeeding Month. Party like it’s, uh, August.

Just as it has been every year since 2011, August is National Breastfeeding Month, brought into being (we were going to say “conceived,” but obviously thought better of it) through a proclamation from the United States Breastfeeding Committee.

You’re right, there really is a committee for everything.

It seemed appropriate this week, therefore, to take a brief look at some breast milk/bacteria connections, but before we do, we’d really like to stress how much we think every mom is a superhero, whether she breastfeeds or not.

Some moms choose not to, others would like to but can’t, and there are those who do.

But, moms of the world – every single one of you – we salute you. Continue reading “Mother’s Milk, Microbes, and a 100,000-Year-Old Munchkin”