Bacteria and viruses—wonderfully made!
Since the watershed day last Friday when the Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade, there have undoubtedly been millions of times in the past few days that the following verses have been repeated online by Christians the world over.
This passage is indeed worth pondering and meditating upon at any time as King David clearly speaks of his own self, his own being, developing in the womb of his mother.
However, we offer it here not only for that purpose (as we give praise to God along with King David) but also for the piece that follows below.
Psalm 139:14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.
15 My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
16 Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.
Our focus is on verse 14. Anyone who will acknowledge our Creator will also recognize the extraordinary divine design of the human body—wonderfully made indeed!
Many books have been and continue to be written on the various aspects of the marvels of the human body. Our focus here, though, is in relation to the manufactured scare of “invisible enemies;” i.e., bacteria and especially viruses! Yikes! Look out, there’s one now! 😜
The fact is, however, that our divinely-engineered human bodies are designed to handle all manner of bacteria and viruses. In fact, we could not survive without them.
There are an estimated 38 trillion viruses inside your body right now, according to the latest science. Source: How many viruses does a human being have? — BeScienced. Oops! I underestimated…by a factor of 10. Make that: 380 trillion viruses inside you and inside me.
We came across an article in the Epoch Times by Jennifer Margulis entitled “Our Marvelous Microbes.” We are impressed with her research and writing of things that we find helpful, to the point that we signed up to receive her twice or thrice weekly email essays.
Of course, we cannot keep up with all of them, but she, along with Dr. Mercola, has become one of our reliable, non-Big Pharma sources for natural health information. Here is her e-location if you’d like to check out her writings. firstname.lastname@example.org
One of our purposes in re-posting her essay here and now is to help allay the on-going fear in so many people concerning those invisible viruses and bacteria. Because if we are told by phony Tony Fauci that there is a new one (just in time to try to affect the mid-term elections) and that we need to mask up again, our readers will be forearmed to say, “hell, no, we’ve seen this scam before!”
Here’s Ms. Margulis’ essay. As usual, all emphases and anything in [brackets] is mine.
Our Marvelous Microbes
QUOTE: We cohabitate with trillions of bacteria and other microorganisms—and that’s a good thing.
Each human is an ecosystem, and we play host to countless microscopic life forms. As strange as it may sound if you’re not a microbiologist, our bacteria are an integral part of who we are, participating in nearly every aspect of our health.
My mother was a preeminent scientist who held the microbial world in high esteem, and I had the unusual experience of learning since I was a child that we should appreciate microbes. My mom used to talk to my three older brothers and me about how disappointing it is that we humans malign bacteria and misunderstand their importance. She explained that, rather than being invisible and evil purveyors of disease, bacteria are actually essential for us humans to live and be healthy.
Most of us associate bacteria with infections, and see them as our enemies. We have to wash these “dirty germs” off our bodies, scrub them from every surface, and sterilize our food to keep it safe. We obsessively use antibacterial soaps and hand sanitizers, and take antibiotics to combat infections. When I wiped the curdled milk from under the many folds of fat in my baby daughter’s pudgy neck, I always worried about the places where there was some redness, indicating that she had the beginnings of a rash caused by “bad bacteria.”
We have trillions of bacteria and other microscopic organisms living on our skin, in our guts, and elsewhere in our body. Collectively, scientists refer to this community of microbes as the human microbiome. Some scientists prefer to call it the human “biome,” since some of our non-human symbionts—organisms living in symbiosis with one another—aren’t microscopic.
There’s so much we still don’t know or understand about our symbionts. But we do know that many of the bacteria cohabitating with us are beneficial. Health problems are usually not caused by the bacteria themselves, but when our bacteria get out of balance. Take my baby’s rashy neck fat, which could have been caused by staphylococcal or streptococcal bacteria or by a number of other microbes; every human has staphylococcal and streptococcal bacteria on their skin, but these may have gotten out of balance in my daughter’s case because the fat on her neck wasn’t allowing air to circulate and was creating the perfect moist environment to encourage bacterial overgrowth.
The bacteria on our skin live in a complex balance with us and with other bacteria, fungi, and even viruses. When the conditions on the skin change, that balance can be thrown off, favoring the overgrowth of some bacteria while discouraging others that keep them in check. Everything about our biome, like any biome, is about balance and harmony.
In addition, I wasn’t as educated about healthy eating as I should have been. Research published in the February 2021 edition of The Journal of Nutrition concluded that “maternal diet shapes the composition and diversity of breast milk microbiota” and “has a key impact on infant microbiota development,” contributing to infant health outcomes in both the short and long term. I was exclusively breastfeeding, but I was eating too many sweets and sugary foods, which may in turn have been encouraging the overgrowth of certain bacteria.
What Our Bacteria Do
The bacteria in our bodies help us survive and thrive. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to maintain life. Our very humanity depends on species that are so unlike ourselves that we barely recognize them as being alive.
At least 700 different species of bacteria live in our mouths alone. They live on our teeth and our tongues, inside our cheeks, and in the pockets between our teeth and our gums. While we don’t want to encourage plaque buildup and tooth decay caused by an overgrowth of harmful bacteria, much, if not most, of the bacteria in our mouths are beneficial. They keep bad bacteria in check, protect us against invasive bacteria that we may inadvertently imbibe via contaminated food, and even help us taste our food.
In fact, the composition of the oral microbiome, as scientists from Australia discovered in a 2021 study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, may determine whether we like broccoli, cauliflower, and other brassicas.
Other recent research has connected our mouth bacteria with how we smell and taste wine and other fermented beverages. The bacteria in our mouth also help in generating mucus membranes and beginning the process of digestion, as well as performing a host of other functions.
“Your body is essentially a condominium for your microbiome or, as I like to call them, your bugs,” writes Dr. Steven R. Gundry, a cardiac surgeon and author of the bestselling book “The Longevity Paradox: How to Die Young at a Ripe Old Age.” “You are their home. Our relationship with our bugs has always been, and continues to be, symbiotic; in other words, their health is dependent on you and vice versa.”
Our Gut Guests
While the oral microbiome (the microorganisms in your mouth) hasn’t been extensively studied, in the past two decades there has been an explosion of interest in the gut microbiome—the bacteria and other microbes that live inside our intestines.
These microbes help us digest our food, protect our stomachs and intestines from leaking unwanted substances into the bloodstream, and play a key role in keeping us safe from infectious diseases. Some experts argue that it’s healthier to have a wide diversity of bacteria in the human gut.
Gundry is convinced that one of the most important factors in living a long and healthy life is feeding our gut microbiomes the foods that help them survive and thrive. He tells his patients that they can get younger from the inside out. By eating the foods that help beneficial bacteria thrive, we will have more energy and less risk of getting cancer, and can help stave off Alzheimer’s disease. Proinflammatory gut microbes have been linked to depression and other brain disorders, so much so that researchers from the California Institute of Behavioral Neurosciences and Psychology argue that microbes even affect the way we think.
“The common misperception is that ‘germs’ are bad things, and that we should avoid them and need to keep things clean,” Dr. Andy Kumitz, a retired family physician based in Ashland, Ore., told me. “That’s just not the case. Most bacteria are beneficial in the big picture. When it comes to health, if you don’t have the right bacteria in your gut, it will have an effect on your metabolism and your risk of disease.”
Dr. Bethany M. Henrick agrees. In 2019, a team of scientists led by Henrick, an adjunct professor at the University of Nebraska, found that infants who had Bifidobacterium longum infantis in their intestines had fewer markers of intestinal inflammation than infants who did not.
“Our guts are the biggest window into the environment,” Henrick said. “The newest research, including mine, is showing that the bacteria produce metabolites that impact how the immune system is developed. In other words, the bacteria provide a critical function in how the immune system is programmed. My guess is that these benefits from the interaction between human breastmilk and the microbiome go far beyond the immune system, probably affecting cognition and metabolism, as well.”
What about the rash under my baby’s chin? Instead of sterilizing it or using antibiotics, I gently wiped out the curdled milk with a wet washcloth, dried her skin well, and held her in the sunshine with her head comfortably back a few times a day. For too long, that fold of chin had stayed dark and damp, which isn’t the environment that human skin needs. With the help of sunlight and fresh air, her rash quickly went away.
By the time my youngest child was born, I had radically changed my diet. That baby, our fourth, never had a single rash.
We need not wage war on our microbiomes. We just need to learn to help them live in balance with each other and with us. END QUOTE
There are several other sidebar articles in addition to the main essay at the Epoch Times linked here.