How many bacteria live in the human body?

Make peace with bacteria and forget the fairy tale about „viruses“ – they are not real!

Below a very reasonable report. People, who have been educated by the pharmaceutical industry to be „Germophobes“, should read carefully! I translated it into English😉


Our Body – More Bacterium Than Human?

Whether at work, during sports, shopping or even in the shower – we are never alone: Trillions of bacteria and fungi – called microbes for short – constantly „accompany“ us.

Microbes are tiny living creatures that are invisible without a microscope and are found in nature, in animals and even in humans. There are countless species of bacteria and fungi living in and on our bodies. Most of them are not harmful, but make a valuable contribution to our health and well-being.

A Balanced Relationship

Since a publication by microbiologist Thomas Luckey, it had been assumed that the number of microbes living in the body exceeds the amount of human cells by a factor of ten. Recently, researchers from Israel’s Weizmann Institute and the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto put this figure into perspective: they assume more of a one-to-one ratio.

The basis of their study is a 20- to 30-year-old „average man“ weighing 70 kilograms and standing 1.70 meters tall. According to the scientists‘ estimates, this person consists of 30 trillion body cells that are colonized by about as many or slightly more bacteria (39 trillion / about 2 kg of our body weight). The team around Ron Milo, Ron Sender and Shai Fuchs can well imagine that in another personb only half as many or even twice as many microbes are at home. The reasons for fluctuating numbers are manifold and range from different lifestyles to disease-related changes. Even a trip to the bathroom can seriously affect the ratio, scientists say.“

Bacteria: At Home Everywhere

Bacteria live on our skin, our mucous membranes and in our internal organs. And they are represented in numerous species. For example, 9,000 species can be counted on our tongue alone, and in the crook of our arm there are still almost 3,500 strains. On the skin, for example, the „good“ bacteria form a protective coating that helps us to ward off pathogens.

Meanwhile, other microbes break down sweat. The resulting odor varies from person to person and can be responsible for who we „smell good“, i.e. find likeable.

Most of the bacteria that colonize us, however, are to be found in the intestines, where they form what is known as the „intestinal flora. This provides us with enzymes without which our digestive tract would not be able to break down and utilize food. For example, unusable carbohydrates are converted into long-chain fatty acids that supply us with energy.

Some microbes produce vitamins and, as an important part of our immune system, fend off pathogens that cause disease. Meanwhile, other bacterial strains are busy breaking down cholesterol and environmental toxins. If we did not receive bacterial support, we would have to eat considerably more food in order to be supplied with all the necessary nutrients.

In the history of human development, which for most of the time was characterized by a lack of food, this digestive support by bacteria represented a decisive advantage for survival. In today’s industrialized nations, however, these conditions can also lead to problems: Due to the excess of food and nutrients, fat cells swell, the metabolism gets out of balance and the immune system is ramped up. The result: permanent inflammatory reactions throughout the body and thus increased risks for diseases such as diabetes or lipometabolic disorders.

Bacteria Influence Our State Of Mind

The well-known saying „The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach“ should, according to the latest scientific findings, rather be „love goes through the gut.

As has now been discovered in several studies, bacteria in our intestines not only influence our physical health, but also our state of mind. Accordingly, not only our psyche has an influence on our digestive tract, but also the other way around. As has been established so far, our intestine can „make contact“ with our brain via its complex nervous system consisting of numerous cells that can secrete signal molecules or perceive signals, and in this way control emotions and feelings.

One of the things that seems to influence this is the ingredients and consistency of the foods we eat. These exert an influence on the communication signals between the intestinal bacteria and our brain. Many scientists even assume that if the intestinal flora is disturbed, the risk of mental illnesses such as depression increases significantly. However, research in this area is still in its infancy. Progress has been made especially since the introduction of new techniques such as 16S rRNA sequencing, which provides much more precise results. It therefore remains exciting to see what further findings will be collected here in the future.

Conclusion: (Bacterial) friendships must be cultivated

Even if the cleaning agent advertising often wants to create a different image: Bacteria have long since shed their image as nasty pathogens. The positive influence of certain microbes on the human organism is now undisputed. It is therefore advisable to carefully weigh up the use of antibiotics. Of course, dangerous pathogens must be fought.

But every time antibiotics are used, many „sympathetic relatives“ are also killed off in addition to the pathogens. For this reason, disinfectants should also be used sparingly in everyday life: In most cases, it is sufficient to wash one’s hands thoroughly with hot water and soap anyway.


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