Are we 100 percent human? Nope

Some weeks ago, I bought some books. I am glad to say that I read and learn many things from them. Often we buy books but never read them! I am even more glad that the information in these books made me think harder — to evaluate what we have done thus far in CA Care. Indeed, what we have been telling cancer patients all these years are now being substantiated by newly discovered scientific research!

I have to write more to share with you what I have learned. Let me start by asking this question: What are we? Are we really 100 percent human? Let me say that I am asking this question strictly from the point of view of biological science — it has nothing to do with “religion” okay?

Here are more questions to ask before we can get to really know what we are.

What are we, humans made up of? In school we learn that the smallest living unit of life is the cell. So we are a collection of cells — I stress, human cells.

How many cells are there in a human body?  Try searching the internet and you get different numbers for the answer. The figure varies from 15 to 70 trillion cells. But presently scientists concluded that the average human body contains approximately 37.2 trillion cells!

Each of these cells contains genes — that determines what we are and how healthy we are.

How many genes are there in the human body? Before the completion of the human genome project, many scientists expect to find 100,000 or more genes in our genomes. This is based on the assumption that we are the most complex creatures on Earth — so we should have a lot more genes than other animals. But it turned out the we only have about 24,000 genes — this is just a few more than a chimpanzee or a mouse!  Are you surprised that even bananas (with 30,000 genes) have more genes than we do.

What is a gene? A gene is the basic physical and functional unit of heredity. Each of us has two copies of each gene — one inherited from each parent.  Most genes are the same in all people, but a small number of genes (less than 1 percent of the total) are slightly different between people. These small differences contribute to each person’s unique physical features. Also, some of these differences are what makes us have or be prone to certain diseases.

The above are just basic stuff that they teach in school. But, how many know that we are more than our human cells and genes? Many of us may not be aware that our body is also  a house for microorganisms or microbes — like bacteria, virus, fungi, worms etc. These microbes are also cell and they also function like our human cells.

How many microbes are we housing in our body? Some years back, scientists say there are 10 times as many bacteria in the body as human cells in the body (that makes us only 10% human, right?).

But a recent study stated that the number of microbes, mainly bacteria, may actually be very similar to the number of human cells in the body (with this statistics, are we then 50% human).

Where do these microbes live in our body? They live on the surfaces of the human body — inside and out. For example the skin, face, nostrils, mouth, between our teeth, vagina,  and the intestines. The gut or large intestine is by far home to the largest population of microbes. Trillions of them live in the dark and nearly oxygen-free world of our gut.

There are 1,000 bacterial species that make up the microbe population in the gut.  The microbial population in our gut contain more than 7 million genes. The bacterial genes outnumber the host (human) gene by 360 times.  What does this statistics tell us? 

Are these microbes harmful? Some co-exist with us, without harming us. Others are said to have a mutualistic relationship with us , i.e. each individual benefits from the activity of the other. Certain microbes perform tasks that are known to be useful to the human host but the role of most of them is not well understood. However, there are also harmful microbes (less than 1% of bacteria) which invade our body and make us ill.

Dr. Emeran Mayer in his book, The Mind-Gut Connection wrote, 

  • “Just a few years ago, it would have sounded like science fiction. But new science confirms that our brains, guts and the gut microbes talk to each other in a shared biological language … they live in intimate contact with the major information-gathering systems in our body” … they listen in to the brain signals … and they can influence our emotions. In fact the “gut has capabilities that surpass all your other organs and even rival your brain…. it has its own nervous systems .. and is often referred to … as the “second brain.”

Here we are — scientists are now suggesting that we actually have two brains, not just one. Unfortunately, this other brain in the gut is often neglected and its importance not recognised. 

There is great lesson to learn from this new found knowledge. Read what Dr. Emeran Mayer wrote:

  • “When President Richard Nixon signed into law the National Cancer Act of 1971, Western medicine acquired a new dimension and a new military metaphor. Cancer became a national enemy, and the human body became a battleground. On that battleground, physicians took a scorched-earth approach to rid the body of disease, using toxic chemicals, deadly radiation, and surgical interventions to attack cancer cells.”
  • “Medicine was already using a similar strategy successfully to combat infectious diseases, unleashing broad-spectrum antibiotics — antibiotics that can kill or cripple many species of bacteria — to wipe out disease-causing bacteria.”
  • “In both cases, as long as victory could be achieved, collateral damage became an acceptable risk.”
  • “For decades, the mechanistic, militaristic disease model set the agenda for medical research. As long as you could fix the affected machine part, we thought, the problem would be solved; there is no need to understand its ultimate cause. … The machine model was useful in medicine for treating some diseases. But when it comes to understanding chronic diseases of the body …. it’s no longer serving us…. Are we failing because our models for understanding the human body are outdated?”

Dr. Steven Gundry, a distinguished surgeon, was professor and chairman of cardiothoracic surgery at Loma Linda University. He changed his focus to curing modern diseases via dietary changes. In his book, The Plant Paradox, he wrote:

  • “One of our biggest health misconceptions comes from our collective lack of awareness of who we really are. The REAL you — or the WHOLE you — is actually what you think of as “you” plus those multitudinous microbes. In fact, 90 percent of all the cells that constitute you are no human. To go a step further, 99 percent of all the genes in you are nonhuman.”
  • “The multiple life-forms with which we coexist may seem like an alternate reality. Yet you and your microbes are literally in this life together. You health is dependent on them — as theirs is on you. At the most basic level, you are not alone. Most of us think that we are totally in charge of the decisions we make and the things we do. Your microbes … would vigorously disagree. You may recoil at the thought that minute nonhuman organisms … exert so much power over you … we know that this is true.”
  • “Germ-free mice, which are raised without a microbiome, are shorter and small, live shorter lives and are more susceptible to disease because their immune system never develops properly. As a result, we know how vital it is that you keep your holobiome well fed and happy.”

(Note: microbiome = the combined genetic material of the microbes;  holobiome = the sum total of the component genomes in an organism)

Next article:  Hurt your gut microbes, you hurt yourself