Scientists Say Our Body’s Bacteria & Fungus Are As Unique As Our Fingerprints

This year, scientists have made groundbreaking discoveries regarding the bacteria and fungus biome of our bodies. It may be difficult to believe, but the microbes living on and in your body outnumber your own cells 10 to 1. Not all bugs are bad, of course. As babies, gentle microbes strengthen our immune systems to fight off the nastier bugs that make us sick. Probiotics form colonies in the gut so that harmless bacteria takes up all the real estate that bad bacteria may otherwise nab. It turns out, the colonies of microbes thriving on us is diverse — and as unique as our fingerprints.


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Each Spot Has Its Own Bacteria & Fungus

The first microbes we’re exposed to come from our mothers’ birth canal and breast milk. As these bugs begin to colonize, they spread out and select specialized territory. You can think of the mouth like the Amazon jungle — home to diverse species. The armpits are lush with bacteria, but altogether different ones than what  is found in the mouth. The oily feet have 250,000 sweat glands — and microbes love feasting on nutrients in sweat! So, suffice to say, the feet are covered in microbes. The gut has the highest concentration of bugs, whereas the dry forearm skin is more like the Sahara Desert.

What Are These Microbes Doing?

The microbes around our bodies can communicate with each other, and with our cells. Some of these microbes stay with us our whole lives — and some resemble the microbes our parents and siblings carry around with them. Since this research is so new, scientists aren’t sure exactly what most of our microbes are doing. They do, however, understand that a balanced ecosystem is important in preventing diseases like asthma, Crohn’s, colitis, and multiple sclerosis. New transplant treatments involving living microbes are being experimented with to treat intestinal illnesses and disease.

According to NPR’s Rob Stein, “While [bacteria is] growing on all that delicious sweat, they’re also in turn producing all kinds of anti-inflammatories and antimicrobials to protect us from microbes trying to colonize our skin.” Of course, the trouble occurs when the wrong types of fungus and bacteria get onto our skin, past the body’s natural defenses, and inside the body.

germs on the body

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Warts, Athlete’s Foot & Toenail Fungus – Oh My!

Only a few types of fungus and bacteria are truly dangerous to the human body. Yet, they are prevalent in the environment. They may manifest as plantar warts, itchy athlete’s foot, or yellow and crumbling toenail fungus. People with compromised or damaged immune systems or genetic susceptibility can be especially vulnerable. The best thing we can do to keep our bodies free from harmful microbes is to keep ourselves as clean and dry as possible. Visit to learn more about a tool that you can use in your own home to keep dangerous microbes out of your shoes.


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