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Humans as superorganisms
Humans are superorganisms living in symbiosis with trillions of microbes distributed throughout the body. More than 90% of human cells are from microorganisms. But due to today’s modern lifestyle – excessive hygiene and changing diets led to a loss of diversity. Recent research suggests that a high fat diet, for example, may have a negative influence on both the gut microbiome and the brain. A diet rich in saturated fatty acids can have detrimental effects, not only on the gut microbiome – characterized by lower diversity in gut microbial species – but also on brain function, inducing depression-like behavior. In the field of psychology, researchers and practitioners have increasingly come to recognize patients as superorganisms, and to consider the microbiome as a way to identify disease (biomarkers), as well as a way to stratify and even treat those in their care. Unlocking the secrets of the microbiome could therefore give access to a treasure trove of personalized nutrition and treatment resources.
This article is available in full in the November-December 2020 issue of Nutraceuticals Now