Humans often find themselves in awe of the vastness of the universe and the smallness of themselves in the scope of things.
But far less commonly we let our attention rest on and ponder the mystery and wonder of the microcosmic world within our own environment. Those microscopic flora and fauna – a universe unseen to our naked eye -hums along unseen and unheard all around us, everywhere we go.
Bugs We Could Do Without
Sometimes we do notice these bugs which are otherwise unseen. For example, scabies (sarcoptes scabiei) are a mite that lives on human hosts and are invisible to the eye. While the mites are invisible, the condition no doubt noticeable to the human host they lay prey upon. Scabies are known for the intense itching they create on the skin of their host as well as the difficult measures that are taken to eradicate the condition.
There are many annoying and even dangerous “bugs” for humans to be concerned about. Lice, nits, bedbugs and internal parasites to name a few.
Bugs That We Need To Survive and Thrive
But there are also incredibly important “bugs” in our lives that are so important for our wellbeing that we would soon be dead without them there to support us.
For example, did you know that our immune system – which is found mostly in our gut – is dependent on healthy bacterial life being present inside our body to function?
Our microscopic gut flora play an important role in the continuous, dynamic nature of the human immune system. These bacterias promote our gut’s mucosal immune system to develop when we are young and work to maintain it’s proper functioning throughout the rest of our life.
There are gut bacteria living in us that stimulate the human lymph tissues to produce antibodies that prevent pathogens from taking hold in our body and makes sure that the immune system is able to recognize incoming threats.
The way our bodies work with these bacteria is truly amazing. It wasn’t until recent decades that we were became aware of the internal flora in our system, and not until very recently that we understood the extent of their role in keeping us healthy by supporting numerous functions like immune support and improving our digestion and assimilation of foods.
How exactly do these internal bugs work to make us healthier? The answer lies in the friendly bonds they’ve formed while co-existing with the human species over thousands of generations.
Friendly micro bacteria in our digestive tract communicate directly with the body which then relays information back and forth with the brain. One example of how bacteria can help our digestion is their ability to help us assimilate nutrients.
Many of the bacterial species in our digestive tract can break down certain compounds that our body alone could not. In this way potentially allergenic food compounds can be turned into readily assimilated forms of matter that our body can use for nourishment.
Are Our Healthy Bugs at Risk?
While we are surrounded by millions of helpful bacteria (roughly 300,000 trillion are alive in each of us at any given time), for many people that number is dwindling and bad bacteria are filling in the gaps left behind.
Our modern use of drugs and intake of unhealthy food directly threatens the livelihood of our friendly bacteria by making our body inhospitable for them. When our body becomes unhealthy and good bacteria die we more easily suffer bacterial and viral infections from unhealthy bugs.
If we are sick and our levels of healthy bacteria are low the solution is to eat right, as nature intends, and to replenish our bacterial storehouse with fermented foods and drinks.