I owe my ongoing good health to several factors. Quality nursing care. Medical technology. Good nutrition. But I may also owe a debt to the trillions of bacteria colonizing my body–my microbiome. A landmark study has found that a typically healthy human shares personal space with over a thousand strains of bacteria and many of those strains contribute to maintaining our health. The notion that we are covered with microscopic symbiotes is nothing new, but this study reveals the vast complexities of human physiology on a scale that few of us regularly contemplate.
When I was younger, my physician had me on prophylactic antibiotic. At the time, we thought it would protect me from serious respiratory infections. But perhaps it actually compromised me further.