Say hello to your little friends-all 100 trillion of them. Each of us harbors about 1,000 microbial species in our noses, mouths, and guts; on our skin. Together, they weigh an astonishing 2 to 5 pounds. If you're worried about the aliens within, don't be. A torrent of new medical and genetic research shows that your microbiome is essential to your survival. These itty-bitty bugs help you metabolize food and build your immune system. They make vitamins and protect you from getting sick.
The director of NYU's Human Microbiome Program, Dr. Martin Blaser is at the forefront of this new research on the jungle of microorganisms inside us. While medical science has traditionally focused on "bad" microbes-the germs that cause illness and how to eradicate them-Dr. Blaser and other pioneering researchers have flipped that idea inside-out, investigating good germs and their role in health and disease.
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