Amazon Tribe Reveals Western Life Is Killing Good Germs
Samples of germs taken from a tribe of once-isolated indigenous people in Venezuela’s Amazon region found that the tribesmen’s seclusion from the outside world until recently has allowed them to keep the highest diversity of bodily bacteria ever observed among humans.
The trillions of mainly beneficial bacteria our body uses for digestion and immunity have come under assault over the past 75 years by the use of antibiotics, and they are also diminished by the sanitary conditions people mainly enjoy in modern life.
Writing in the journal Science Advances, researchers say that comparing bacterial DNA from the Amazon’s Yanomami villagers with samples from U.S. residents reveals that microbes are about 40 percent less diverse in the American population.
The findings support the theory that lower microbial diversity now found in the developed world may be linked to immune and metabolic diseases like allergies, asthma and diabetes.
“The challenge is to determine which are the important bacteria whose function we need to be healthy,” said researcher M. Gloria Dominguez-Bellow of New York University.