The Apocalypse Inside Us

By: Anthony Campo

For many individuals the apocalypse is happening right now, just not the one you are thinking of. Instead of fire and brimstone raining down upon the Earth, it is the mass destruction of the inhabitants of our bodies. By inhabitants I mean the trillions of microbial species we share our body with, most of which live in the gut and intestines. In fact we are only about 10 percent human, the rest of the genes that comprise the human body come from these microbial species in our intestines, skin, tongue, ect… Every decision we make with how we eat and train has a monumental impact on these inhabitants. If these microbes are not working for us it can present a very problematic situation for our health.

Justin Sonnenburg, a microbiologist at Stanford, suggests that we would do well to begin regarding the human body as “an elaborate vessel optimized for the growth and spread of our microbial inhabitants. This humbling new way of thinking about the self has large implications for human and microbial health, which turn out to be inextricably linked. Disorders in our internal ecosystem — a loss of diversity, say, or a proliferation of the “wrong” kind of microbes — may predispose us to obesity and a whole range of chronic diseases, as well as some infections.”

The majority of us have goals that are a little more ambitious that simply not being obese, diseased, or infected. This same science can be used in order to optimize our body chemistry and help us achieve maximal success with health, function, and sports performance. Individuals who are the most successful eat and train in a way that the trillions of microbial species in our body are working in their favor. The individuals that struggle consistently with hitting goals pertaining to their health and fitness are creating a doomsday for their microbial inhabitance.