The Human Microbiome Project

Last time, we published a short post about human microbiomes. They are thought to have great influence on human body, particularly on its health status and development. This time, we will cover some information about the Human Microbiome Project, an initiative of the United States National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The human body is home to a gigantic number and diversity of microbes. Inside the body of a healthy adult, microbial cells are thought to outnumber human cells 10 times. What’s more, the joined hereditary contributions of these microorganisms may give crucial characteristics not encoded in our own particular genome yet needed for normal development, physiology, immunity, and nourishment. The mission of the Human Microbiome Project (HMP) is to produce resources to depict these microbial groups and to investigate their parts in health and disease.

Essential parts of the Human Microbiome Project will be culture-independent strategies for microbial community characterization, for example, metagenomics, as well as extensive genome sequencing (which gives a “profound” genetic viewpoint on specific parts of a given microbial group, i.e. of individual bacterial species). The latter will serve as reference genomic successions — 3000 such groupings of individual bacterial isolates are presently planned — for examination purposes amid consequent metagenomic analysis. The microbiology of five body locales will be emphasized: oral, skin, vaginal, gut, and nasal/lung. The project also is financing profound sequencing of bacterial 16S ribosomal RNA groupings enhanced by polymerase chain response from human subjects.

The Goals of the Human Microbiome Project

According to the website of the National Institutes of Health:

The NIH Human Microbiome Project is one of several international efforts designed to take advantage of large scale, high through multi ‘omics analyses to study the microbiome in human health. As a community resource program, the HMP is a partner in an international collaboration to generate rich, comprehensive, and publicly available datasets of the microbiome. This information will be available worldwide for use by investigators and others in efforts to understand and improve human health.

The long-term objective of this initiative is to develop datasets and tools that the community can use to evaluate which biological properties of the microbiome and host will yield important new insights in understanding human health and disease. This initiative is also designed to stimulate the collection of multi ‘omics properties of the microbiome and the host by the research community.

So, what does that mean to you? Maybe there’s no direct impact for a regular guy but you’ll eventually notice that it has a significant effect in the field of medicine. Understanding more about microbiomes can answer many questions in the field of medicine.

Examining organisms inside their communities rather than independently assumes a key part in understanding the human microbiome. A real objective of the Human Microbiome Project is to help analysts focus the likenesses and contrasts among the microbiome of healthy and sick people. They can then portray these groups among groups of individuals, and figure out how they change in diverse health and sickness states.

Human Microbiomes – A Brief Introduction

The human microbiome is the population of inhabitants in more than 100 trillion microorganisms that live in our gut, mouth, skin and somewhere else in our bodies. These microbial groups have various useful capacities pertinent to supporting life. They are required to process nourishment, to avert ailment bringing bacteria from attacking the body, and to integrate fundamental supplements and vitamins.

The aggregate number of genes connected with the human microbiome surpasses the aggregate number of human genes by a factor of 100-to-one. With the progression of genomic technologies, the limit of this “second genome” to impact health can now be harnessed as a function of the whole community instead of as segregated bacterial species.

The human microbiome is composed of the microbes, and their genes and genomes, which live in and on the human body. Researchers are uncovering exactly how critical these inhabitant organisms are to our well-being and health, especially regarding the parts they play in keeping up our immune systems, contributing to the digestion of our food, and acting as a first line of defense against pathogens. There are numerous infections that may be the consequence of disturbed microbiomes; in any case, microbiome-based medicinal medications and applications are coming soon.

Our Other Genome – The Human Microbiome

Throughout mankind’s history, we have been at war with microbes. Bubonic plague, small pox, yellow fever, and typhoid are some of the few examples of historic agents of change. Modern day infectious disease includes malaria, tuberculosis, cholera and HIV/AIDS, to name a few.

In present comprehension, the human body is made up of about 10 times more microbial cells than human cells. Further, there may be millions more microbial genes than human genes in this human + microbiome system (which is regularly considered a human ‘super organism’), and it is the ways in which these microbial genes connect with the human host that depicts their extreme part in our health.

Scientists now accept that newborn children are sterile (which means they’re free of microorganisms) in the womb and get their first inoculum of organisms from the mother during regular labor. This inoculum happens to colonize the infant and start a progression of occasions leading to the development of the child’s own microbiome.

The vast majority of the organisms connected with humans gives off an impression of being not harmful whatsoever, but rather helps in keeping up a healthy body. An astonishing finding was that at particular sites on the body, an alternate set of organisms may perform the same function for different individuals. For example, on the tongues of two individuals two totally distinctive sets of life forms will break down sugars in the same way. This proposes that medical science may be compelled to forsake only one-microbe model of disease, and rather give careful consideration to the function of a group of microorganisms that has somehow gone away.

The Human Microbiome Project aims to identify and characterize microorganisms which are associated with both healthy and diseased humans. They wanted to understand how changes in human microbiome are associated with human health and disease.

Why Does Our Skin Change Color From the Sun?

sun tanThe skin is an amazing organ. It acts as a primary defense against external factors and automatically adapts to certain factors that keeps the homeostasis of the human body. A lot can be said about you just by looking at your skin-besides it is the first thing others see right, it’s the largest and visible organ after all. Most people can tell where you’re from just by looking at the color of your skin. Pigmentation tells a lot about how you see yourself and how other people sees you. Gone are the days where the skin complexion is the basis of beauty and status. In the past, dark skin was associated as a low status, complexion for the working class. Today, equality among races are recognized, we may have different skin colors but everyone is equal, all are important human beings.

Skin changes color.

Yes, skin color does change. Sunlight or Ultraviolet rays can actually damage the skin specifically the human DNA. Thus, melanocytes, cells that are found in the epidermis of the skin when triggered by potential harmful rays, undergo a certain process that produces melanin. Melanin gives the dark pigment of the skin. So, increased melanin means darker skin, and people with dark skin are less likely to get sunburn, because they have increased defense against UV rays. But this doesn’t mean that they won’t burn. They also do, if there is too much exposure under the sun. On the other hand, lighter skin complexion have a higher risk of getting sunburned and even an increased rate of getting skin cancer because they don’t have enough melanin to protect them from the danger of UV rays.

Another reason why, skin color changes is the presence of Vitamin D, the main source of Vitamin D is the sun. Once the skin determines that there is too much Vitamin D in the body, melanocytes are stimulated and produce melanin, causing the dark complexion of the skin.

Some people will actually try and simulate the look of a darker complexion by visiting a tanning bed or spray tan studio.

Different Races… Different Color…

Do you ever notice that people from different places have different color depending on their climate? For example: People from Africa have dark skin primarily because they have increased melanin, they need more protection from the sun due to their dry and hot climate. While on the other hand, people from, let’s say Europe have lighter or skin complexion because most of the time, they have cloudy and cold weather, they wear clothes that covers most parts of their bodies to keep them warm, making the sun rays less penetrating through their skin. What if, we switch them and place them on different environments? Most probably, the one with lighter skin complexion once placed in a sunny and hot environment will have a sunburn and an increased rate of skin cancer primarily because, they don’t have enough melanin to protect them, same goes with the person with dark complexion when place on a cold, less sunnier place, he might acquired Rickets, a disease caused by lack of Vitamin D, because the sun cannot penetrate their skin because of too much melanin.

These are basically the reasons why skin changes color from the sun, but the sun is only the precipitating factor, what actually change the color of our skin is the presence of melanin. Everybody can change skin color depending on the amount of exposure to the sun and the rate of melanin production. The skin may adapt but it may take time. So take care of your skin!

The Science of Heal: How Salt Water Can Help Heal Cuts

I’m sure that at least once in your life, you experienced getting cuts or wounds, either accidentally or intentionally. But why the latter? Never mind, we’re not talking about suicidal matters here. We are here to discuss how salt water can help heal cuts, wounds and other things. As we all know, the skin is the largest organ in the body and is responsible for protecting our innards from dangerous bacterium and other microorganisms that can pose harm to our fragile, yet important body organs. Therefore, we can’t afford to leave cuts or wounds open, as they can be the gateway of hell to heaven, ultimately putting our overall health to danger.

What’s With Salt Water?

Ever since the ancient times, salt water was considered as a natural antiseptic. It helps clean and sterilize wounds. Why? Because salt is a bacteriostat, a substance that prevents bacteria from multiplying without destroying them.

The History of Salt Water

Can Saltwater Really Help Cuts?The use of saltwater or saline can be traced back to ancient Greece and Egypt. Ancient Egyptians used it for treating wounds and stomach ailments while early Greek and Romans used it for treating scrapes, cuts, mouth sores and skin irritations. Even today, modern medicine still uses saline water, especially in surgery.

However, while it’s true that salt water can aid in healing wounds faster by preventing bacteria from multiplying, there’s certain types of bacteria such as Staphylococcus Aureus multiply faster in presence of saline solution. Therefore, we can’t just rely solely for saltwater when curing cuts and wounds.

 

Salt Water – Biology

Adding a tablespoon of salt into a cup of warm water can be very effective in preventing bacteria from spreading in your wound. All you need to do is to mix the salt into water until it’s completely dissolved. It works well as an initial treatment to disinfect the wound.

If the wound is still bleeding, you can’t soak it into salt water yet. Instead, dab the wound gently with salt water and wait for it to clot completely before soaking it into salt-water solution. After that, you can apply hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol to sterilize the wound further.

Although, if the wound is large I wouldn’t recommend going for a swim. However, if you’re an avid surfer or paddleboarder you should know that the salt will actually help heal those pesky small cuts and wounds.

Considerations in Using Salt Water

As we stated earlier, if the wound is still bleeding DO NOT use salt water bath yet, instead, dab it gently with salt water until its completely clotted. If it started swelling or started bleeding excessively, see a doctor immediately.

If you think you have broken bone, be wary and don’t soak it in saltwater. Remember that using salt water is almost the same as using disinfectants, it will only sanitize your wound by prevent bacteria from multiplying but it will not heal all wounds.

You might need stitches or other medical treatments before you can use salt water. Always consult your doctor if you’re in doubt to make sure everything’s okay.

That’s it! If you got knife cuts or small wound, wait for the bleeding to stop, and then apply salt water. But if it’s something serious, make sure to see your doctor first.

The human body is truly a remarkable thing, and it’s incredible the impact our environment can have on it.

Bacteria and Bad Breath

monsters2Everyone has had a moment where they don’t want to open their mouths because of their breath. The garlic-filled lunch or that cup of black coffee might have tasted delicious, but you know it always comes back to bite you in close quarters with you coworkers or friends. However, some people have to deal with bad breath without a clear and specific cause. An excess of anaerobic bacteria in the mouth causes this type of bad breath.

Bacteria consumes food and produces waste just as we do, and the waste produced by the bacteria living in your mouth is what causes bad breath. These are called volatile sulphur compounds, and they are always present in your mouth.

When you have an excess of bacteria in your mouth, you will have an excess of volatile sulphur compounds in your mouth, and will lead to bad breath. Your bad breath might smell different than someone else’s bad breath because the combination of bacteria is different in each person’s mouth. There are no exceptions – everyone has a combination of these volatile sulphur compounds in their mouths, even if they do not have bad breath.

The human nose cannot detect the smells put off by volatile sulphur compounds and low concentrations, but as concentrations grow, the more obvious and detectable the stench becomes. Bacteria thrive in oral environments with more plaque, and in people who eat more meat. The back side of the tongue houses much of the anaerobic bacteria that causes bad breath.

Combat Bad Breath

How do you control the amount of bacteria in your mouth to control bad breath? Make sure you brush you teeth every day to remove as much plaque as possible. Consider brushing your tongue or using a tongue scraper to remove the smelly bacteria that causes your to have bad breath. This is the most important step in ridding your mouth of bacteria and typically a dentist can also recommend some strategies to clean this type of bacteria. The use of anti-bacterial mouth washes also help control the amount of bacteria in your mouth.

Limit the food sources available to the anaerobic bacteria. Since bacteria lives off protein, try to brush you teeth after having a protein-heavy meal. Tiny particles of food stay in our mouth after you are finished eating, and if you do not brush after eating a meal with a good deal or protein, the bacteria in your mouth will have a feast and be able to multiple and produce excessive waste.

Another option is to talk to your dentist about minimizing bacteria build up in your mouth. A good dentist should know your mouth better than anyone and will be able to help you develop a strategy to combat bad breath. If you don’t have a dentist currently, try looking in a local directory. If in the SE Calgary area, Sunpark Dental is a great option.

The Battle Never Ends

Anaerobic bacteria will always be a part of your mouth, but keeping it under control by keeping a clean tongue and minimizing plaque in your mouth will prevent you from facing the embarrassing problem of bad breath.

How Gene’s Affect Your Workout

Genes & Your Body Type

We’re all put on this earth with certain strengths. A huge factor in how easy it is for you will be your genetics. There is no question, and anyone who tells you otherwise is flat out lying.

Does that mean you can’t build mass if you’re an ectomorph or you can’t get lean if you’re an endomorph? Hells no. It just means you have to be smarter about the process! You won’t be able to go to the gym a few times a weak, throw some weights around eat as you’ve been eating your whole life and expect any meaningful changes. It’s best if you have a solid fitness plan from a trainer.

Next time you’re at the gym look around and observe for a few minutes. Why is it that 90% of the folks in the gym are working out exactly the same way? Yet there are at least 3, I would argue more general body compositions.

Ectomorph’s shouldn’t be lifting the same that way. Ectomorph’s program should look far different from a mesomorph.

What Is Your Body Composition?

There are three general types of body compositions. Basically a string of genes tell us which ones we’ll end up with.

Ectomorph

The primary characteristics of endomorph are long limbs, thin, smaller wrists and ankles and of course very lean. Ectomorph’s will have no problem losing weight, however putting it on is an entirely different animal. Personally, I am an ectomorph I’m also 6’6″ so putting on weight is an immense challenge.

Ectomorph’s are often great long distance runners, however they probably don’t perform as well in the weight room.

Mesomorph

These are the guys and gals who seems to look fit even if they’re not entirely fit. A lot of times they CAN go to the gym and throw weights around for an hour a few times a week and continue to look strong. Generally, they’ll have slim waists yet broad shoulders.

Endomorph

“He’s built like a truck” is a common description of an Endomorph who is in shape. Of course, the flip side of that coin is Endomorph’s can easily put on weight. They have wide hips and an overall boxy build. Losing weight for an endomorph will be an immense challenge.

Of course, most folks lie somewhere between the two. For instance I’m an ectomorph but I have some mesomorph characteristics such as broad shoulders. The key is identifying which build you are and then building a workout plan that caters to your particular body type.

Genes will play a huge role in determining how effective you can be at the gym, however they shouldn’t be a limiting factor. You will have to work harder if you’re given a certain body but it doesn’t mean you can’t get cut and lean or put muscle on. Those are just excuses for not wanting to put the work in.

The Science Behind Runner’s High

Runners High

Almost every serious runner I know has experienced runner’s high to some degree. It’s one of the most glorious feelings in the world and I suspect it’s largely responsible for men and women deciding to get into ultra running. If you’re not familiar with ultra running, it’s basically long distance running taken to the extreme. The shortest distance that is considered ultrarunning is 50km.

Now, you don’t need to be an ultrarunner to experience the runners high, although I suspect they experience it on an entirely different level then the average runner. 

Let me briefly explain how I perceive runner’s high and then I’ll jump into the science behind it.

I can’t remember the first time I experienced it, but it was probably when I was fairly young. I have been running on and off from the time I was a kid. It really is the most amazing feeling, and it doesn’t always happen. I’ve never experienced it running anything less then 8km. It basically happens when I haven’t run so far that I’m completely exhausted but I’ve run far enough and long enough that the oxygen is pumping. Long enough that all you want do is come home drink a glass of water and roll out your hamstrings for 10 minutes.

Now according to many studies most haven’t actually experienced true runners high. However, after long intense exercise your pain tolerance goes up, anxiety decreases and you may experience short term euphoria. So perhaps, I’ve never experienced true runners high, however I know 70% of the time if I’m feeling shitty or moody and I go for a run I’ll probably feel a lot better. I’m writing this article sitting on my deck, fairly content. Yet a short hour ago I was in a mood and was ready to come unglued. A quick 10k run quickly fixed that.

What Is Runners High?

The idea is chemicals are released into your brain as a result of higher then regular heart rates and elevated breathing. The result is a short term blast of happiness (okay so that may not be the scientific term). This short term feeling is usually fleeting, and it can be incredibly addicting. Just like drugs or sex the release of chemicals into your brain makes your body want it again and again.

Generally speaking, I get my runners high between 8k and 12k. It’s incredible your run is so wonderful once you get it and you honestly believe you’re never going to stop running. Of course it’s not just runners who experience this, all types of endurance athletes experience it.

Unfortunately the science behind it is still murky at best. Until then, just keep running.