IMAG­INE THAT FROM

Canadian Living - - HEALTH & FITNESS | BODY TALK -

the time you’re born, your body is host­ing a daily house party. Who’s on the guest list? Roughly 40 tril­lion of your tini­est, clos­est friends. And like any lively party, there’s a mix of good and bad guests. This com­mu­nity of micro­organ­isms, which in­cludes bac­te­ria, viruses, fungi and yeast, is col­lec­tively known as mi­cro­biota, or our mi­cro­biome. It’s of­ten called the “for­got­ten or­gan” and could be con­sid­ered one of our largest in terms of cells. In fact, re­cent re­search sug­gests that we have around the same num­ber of bac­te­rial cells as hu­man cells. Dur­ing a nat­u­ral birth, you’re rst ex­posed to bac­te­ria from your mother, and it’s es­ti­mated that your ecosys­tem is largely es­tab­lished by age three. We’re used to think­ing of bugs as un­wanted party crash­ers, but re­searchers are dis­cov­er­ing that they play an im­por­tant role in our over­all well-be­ing and may hold the key to a host of healthre­lated is­sues.

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