There are more organisms living on and inside your body than there are people on the earth. And not just a few more. Your body is teeming with a population that makes Earth’s seem sparse.
Your body hosts trillions of organisms. These microscopic organisms outnumber your human cells 10 to 1. You are vastly outnumbered. Let that sink in.
The good thing is that they are so tiny they only make up 1 to 3 percent of a person’s body mass, otherwise the human form would look like a walking colony of bacteria. It’s the stuff nightmares are made of, truly.
And it’s not just when you’re sick — your personal population includes unimaginable numbers of beneficial bacteria and microbes on any given day. In fact, your bacteria weighs in at somewhere between 2 to 9 pounds of your body weight!
Most people also carry pathogens, the types of bacteria that cause illness. However, in healthy people, the pathogens don’t cause illness and simply exist in the body with all the other microorganisms.
What Bacteria Does In Your Body
The human microbiome, as your collection of bacteria is collectively called, helps keep you alive. In fact, you could not live without them. Scientists studying bacteria of the human body discovered that the DNA of these microbes help the human body function more than human DNA.
These microbes also work to break down foods we consume and provide the body with vitamins and anti-inflammatories that the human body cannot produce on its own.
If you have children, things are a bit stickier all the way around. Like mobile living Petri dishes, kids have a knack for collecting and growing bacteria and sharing it with others. You may get sick and need antibiotics to get better.
Antibiotics will do their job of killing bacteria, however, this comes with the drawback that beneficial bacteria will also be killed off. They will eventually repopulate in a healthy person.
To keep your good bacteria thriving and keep the bad bacteria numbers low, doctors recommend frequent hand washing and overall good hygiene. You can also keep your colony healthy by using probiotic products.