In Brief
Trillions upon trillions of microscopic organisms inhabit each and every one of our bodies. Explore how we interact with them and why we need them.

Editor’s Note: Recent research just shed new light on this topic. Please see this article, as findings stated here are now called into question. 

You are more than just you. Right now, there are trillions of microbes living inside of your body. In fact, some estimates suggest that there are some 100 trillion microbes within the average human. Take a moment to imagine that. For every one person, there are trillions and trillions of bacteria and other microscopic creatures. Their numbers are simply mind-boggling.

However, despite the fact that 90 percent of the cells in our bodies are not human cells (they are actually bacterial), we are only just beginning to understand the roles that they play. A report from Harvard, CalTech, and the National Institutes of Health, details some of what we know about the microorganisms living inside of us.

The bottom line is that the human body hosts a huge number of microbes of many different kinds. These microbes play a role in many fundamental life processes. The collection of microbes that constitute the microbiome is not random; the human microbiome is made up of a particular set of microbes that complement each other and the human host. Systematic study of the human microbiome is a very young science and scientists are just beginning to address the questions of what constitutes a normal microbiome.

Read the rest of the report here, and learn more in the image below.

Image via American Academy of Microbiology
Image Credit: American Academy of Microbiology