Posted by: Through the Eyes of Women | October 4, 2015

October 5, 2015, Host Corinne Frugoni Discusses Our Microbiome with Research Scientist Laura Cox

We are who we are, or are we?  We’re learning that there are about 100 trillion microbes in and on our bodies, outnumbering human cells 10 to 1. But as Laura Cox tells us, we don’t need to worry cause as many microbes as inhabit our shell, they only make up about 3-4 pounds of our body weight as adults. It appears that they exert an influence on our health as great and possibly even greater than the genes we inherit from our parents. By far, the largest contingent of these microbial beings live in our gut.

AS-277712338997256@1443223189295_lLaura Cox has spent a large part of her life studying microbes. Working in a lab at the Langone Medical Center at New York University,  she found that a brief, low dose of antibiotics shortly after birth can have long-lasting consequences on the gut microbes in mice and lead to obesity later in life.  Although this study was limited to mice the results agree with multiple other studies pointing toward significant effects on children exposed to antibiotics early in life. At this time, the average child in the United States receives 10 courses of the drugs by the age of 10.  It appears that the nature of our gut microbiome is contributing to the current obesity epidemic.  Does this mean that we capitulate to the trillions of bacteria living in our gut while we grab a donut or add a second scoop of ice cream to that sundae?

The composition of our microbiome evolves throughout our entire life, from birth to old age, and is the result of many different environmental influences – the foods we eat, the drugs we take, how and where we work and play, whether we were breastfed or formula fed, whether we were born vaginally or via a caesarian, where we live and who we live with.  And the composition of our microbiome influences our body habitus, our behavior, our immune system, our health. There was a time not so long ago that we didn’t even know that invisible microbes existed, to a more recent belief that it was us against them, to the beginnings of an understanding that these microbes govern and define who we are. Laura’s work contributes to the growing body of knowledge about the ecology of our microbiome and ways in which we can improve our own health.

So who’s writing this blog-me or my microbiome?   gutbugs310

To listen to and or download this segment click the following link.


  1. Very interesting guest. I loved her comment about our gut bacteria eating at the same table we do, enjoying the same meal. I wonder, do my gut bacteria feel as overstuffed as I do after a holiday meal?

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