Cell shock: our bodies are not completely human
NEARLY 60 per cent of cells in the body are not actually human, according to scientists.
Human cells make up just 43 per cent of our total cell count, while the rest are microscopic tenants that are essential for our wellbeing.
The hidden half of our body is called our microbiome, and experts studying it could unlock new ways of tackling diseases, from allergy to Parkinson's.
Microscopic creatures, including bacteria, viruses, fungi and archaea, cover your entire body.
"They are essential to your health,” says Prof Ruth Ley, of the Max Planck Institute, "your body isn't just you”.
The highest concentration of this microscopic life lives in our oxygen-deprived bowels.
Prof Rob Knight, from University of California San Diego, told the BBC: "You're more microbe than you are human.”
At first, boffs thought our cells were outnumbered 10 to one, but the prof said: "That's been refined much closer to one-to-one, so the current estimate is you're about 43% human if you're counting up all the cells”.
Scientists are rapidly uncovering the role microbial material plays in digestion, regulating the immune system, protecting against disease and manufacturing vital vitamins.
Prof Knight said: "We're finding ways that these tiny creatures totally transform our health in ways we never imagined until recently.”
This article originally appeared on The Sun and has been republished with permission.