Monday, December 15, 2008

good bugs...

Many of the bugs floating around us are actually friendly bugs. Our gut is full of them. These bugs that live happily with us are generally called commensals (as in 'share the same food'). Often the balance is in favour of one over another....i.e., they make use of us more than we do them, or we make use of them more than they do us...more likely the former. These would be more exploitative relationships. The bugs on our skin and hair are very much like that. Often they are just different balances of a 'mutualistic' relationship, i.e. both derive some benefit.

The bugs that have colonized out gut are very much in that category. Mostly we don't know to what extent we benefit from their presence. Unlike the herbivores who clearly use these bugs for their large gut 'fermentation chamber' to digest stuff, we are not so inclined. Still many believe, the presence of these gut bugs do help us establish some sort of health balance.

The concept of the whole
Yakult industry is based primarily on the idea of seeding the gut with friendly bugs. Occasionally the colony of bugs gets thrown off balance by overgrowth of a 'renegade' strain of bugs which have no respect for the host....That's when disease manifests.

Toilet paper, anyone?

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