In the past couple of years, you’ve likely heard much talk about the bacteria that live inside your digestive system, what scientists and doctors now call the gut microbiome. All that buzz is for good reason. Researchers have found that these tiny bugs can have an influence on our health, though how much and in what ways is still unknown. Store shelves are now full of products promising to deliver these beneficial bacteria, though many of them have little, if any, evidence to back up their claims.
But if it surprised you to learn that trillions of bacteria have made your colon their permanent homestead, this might throw your stomach for an even bigger lurch: Bacteria aren’t alone. Fungi, parasites, viruses, and archaea all live there, too. Yes: The same group of organisms that includes yeasts, molds, and various mushrooms also inhabits your gut, as do various viral organisms and parasitic species. And scientists are finding that they can have an effect on our health, too.
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