New Discoveries re Gut Bacteria – Profound Implications for Your Health

 

You think of yourselves as human beings, but I think of you as 99 percent bacterial.” (Bonnie Bassler)

In 2002, bearing her microscope on a microbe that lives in the gut of fish, Bonnie Bassler isolated an elusive molecule called AI-2, and uncovered the mechanism behind mysterious behavior called quorum sensing — or bacterial communication. She showed that bacterial chatter is hardly exceptional or anomolous behavior, as was once thought — and in fact, most bacteria do it, and most do it all the time. (She calls the signaling molecules “bacterial Esperanto.”)

The discovery shows how cell populations use chemical powwows to stage attacks, evade immune systems and forge slimy defenses called biofilms. For that, she’s won a MacArthur “genius” grant — and is giving new hope to frustrated pharmacos seeking new weapons against drug-resistant superbugs.

Bassler teaches molecular biology at Princeton, where she continues her years-long study of V. harveyi, one such social microbe that is mainly responsible for glow-in-the-dark sushi. She also teaches aerobics at the YMCA.

“She’s really the one who’s shown that this is something that all these bacteria are doing all the time. And if we want to understand them, we have to understand quorum sensing.”

Ned Wingreen, Princeton, on Nova ScienceNOW

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Story at-a-glance – from Dr Mercola HERE

  • The bacteria in your body outnumber your human cells 10-to-1. The ideal balance between these bacteria is about 85 percent “good” and 15 percent “bad.” Once harmful bacteria begin to rise above this ratio, they begin to promote disease, and prevent your immune system from working optimally
  • Bacteria communicate with each other using a chemical language called “quorum sensing.” Every type of bacteria secretes small molecules, which allow the bacteria to “count” how many of its own kind there are, as well as measure the strength of competing colonies. Once the colony reaches critical mass, the bacteria spring into action as a synchronized group, based on the group behavior programmed into its genes—for better or worse.
  • The micro-organisms living in your digestive tract forms a very important “inner ecosystem” that influences countless aspects of your health. More specifically, the type and quantity of organisms in your gut interact with your body in ways that can either prevent or encourage the development of many diseases and mental health problems
  • Cultured foods like yogurt and fermented vegetables are excellent sources of natural, healthy bacteria, provided they are not pasteurized. Other examples of healthy fermented foods include: kombucha, raw milk cheeses, natto, miso, kimchee, and tempeh

 

 

 

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