Nurturing Our Microbes

Stewardship of the life teeming within us can pay health dividends

By Janet Raloff, 15:58 PM April 15, 2008

Each of us is a metropolis. Bustling about in everyone's body are tens of trillions of microbes. Some are descended from starter populations provided by mom during birth. Additional bacteria, yeasts, and other life forms hitchhike in with foods. By age 3, everyone's gut hosts a fairly stable, yet diverse, ecosystem.

Most of the tiny stowaways hide out in the gastrointestinal tract—the gut-stealing a share of everything we eat or drink. But that's only fair, because most of these bugs give as ...

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