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You’re Not What You Think You Are

You’re Not What You Think You Are

Your body is made up of many things – like
this cell – an integral building block of what makes you…well, you! Except that, for
every single cell in your body there are roughly 10 more microscopic organisms that are essential
to your life. Seriously, there’s a unique collage of 100 trillion microorganisms living
on and in you right now, which you’ve picked up through your mouth, ears, and other access
points throughout your life. Meaning, what you consider you, is only a tiny fraction
of the things that truly make you up. We call this the microbiome, and these little
critters contain around 22 million genes of their own DNA, which not only allow them to
survive, but control hundreds of processes in your body. They help digest your food,
they keep your immune system healthy, and they even regulate hunger and make you feel
full. Feeling stressed? They produce chemicals for that too – in fact, mice raised in sterile
environments which don’t pick up these microorganisms are less effective at responding to stress
stimuli than normal mice. Ever heard of a poop transplant? It’s a
real thing! Some diseases are actually caused by a microbiome which lacks diversity, making
the individual susceptible to infections. And it’s been found that transplanting the
cultures from a healthy persons poo to a sick persons gut can treat these diseases more
effectively than any antibiotics. Scientists have even found that when obese mice are transplanted
with the microbiome of lean mice, they astonishingly, lost weight much more effectively, even when
their diet is kept the exact same. These organisms are so significant and so much a part of you
that in the future doctors may actually diagnose your microbiome instead of you. But here’s the crazy part – even though
your own cells represent a small proportion of you, you can actually change the other
90%. Unlike the genetics passed down from your parents, everything you eat actually
affects the microbiome. Foods which contain pre and probiotics, for example, introduce
new and healthy bacteria which can help the old ones thrive. On the other hand, those
chicken nuggets you’re eating, or other processed foods, are treated with chemicals
to kill bad bacteria, which has the unfortunate side effect of killing some of your good bacteria
too. In fact, the western world has much less diversity in their microbiomes than other
cultures, who eat primarily whole foods. This is because of a diet higher in processed food
along with the use of antibacterial soap and antibiotics. It may also explain why there
are much higher incidences of allergies and autoimmune diseases in western cultures. So while you may be having an existential
crisis over who or what you really are, just remember that you are in control of this superorganism
of cells. And if you treat your microscopic life partners well, with a good diet, they’ll
take care of you. Or at least…the 10% of you that’s actually you… Special thanks to Littlebits for supporting
this episode of AsapSCIENCE. Littlebits are these cool modular building blocks which are
the easiest way to prototype and learn with electronics. From simple sensors and LEDs,
to more complex wireless and programmable pieces, they have something for everyone this
holiday season whether you’re a musician, a programmer, a gadget geek or a home project
enthusiast. You can check it out at and enter the promo code ‘ASAP’ to receive
$20 off of any order over $80. And when you get it, be sure to send us your designs and
projects on twitter or instagram! And subscribe for more weekly science videos!

100 thoughts on “You’re Not What You Think You Are”

  1. It should be noted that even though your microbiome has 10 times the number of cells than the rest of you, your red blood cells(the smallest type) are are 8 times the size and your bone marrow cells(the largest) are around 30,000 times the size. So no matter how many microbes you have they only make up about 2-6 pounds of "you".

  2. U should make a video on y do we see our selfs differently then other ppl see us? I always wonder y I look different in a selfie then on an ID picture or from back camera

  3. The bacteria to cell ratio is not 10/1 as debunked in the book "I contain multitudes" It's actually around 39/30. You gotta fact check your stuff. That 10/1 ratio was made from sloppy science and then for some reason hailed as fact because it was eyecatching.

  4. My brother got me the Littlebits a couple years ago! They're really cool I once built a windmill with them 😂

  5. I used LittleBits in school during ArtScience Programme last year to innovate and be creative. They were super fun really easy to use 😆

  6. 0:04
    Sooooo I'm currently learning about cells in science and that looks more like a plant cell rather than a human cell…..
    Am I right or am I missing something here?….

  7. So we are the universe of those micro organisms.. Maby we people may also live in some kind of body…. 😂😂 just kidding…. 😂😂😂

  8. I would eat less processed food but…

    I’m way too lazy to make my lunch and just don’t have the time even though I don’t even finish the school “nutritious and delicious” food that shouldn’t be edible

  9. So first I am told that 99.9% of me is empty space, and now I am told of that 0.1% only 10% is actually me? Alrighty then.

  10. “So while you’re having an existential crisis…”

    Dan Howell walks in and falls to the ground having yet another existential crisis

  11. The issue with saying it's 10 to 100 trillion is
    1. It's actually 9.09 percent, but I mean who cares the numbers aren't exactly 10 and 100 but more importantly,
    2. By saying that the body is 10 percent cell and 90 percent microorganisms, that's like saying the place humans live is .0000001 percent earth and 99.9999999 percent humans. This is wrong because earth is much bigger than one human. So, although it isn't for every microorganism, bacteria cells are only about a tenth of the size of an animal cell, so it's more half and half really. Again, there could be exceptions, but bacteria cells are smaller, therefore accounting for less of your mass and volume

  12. wrg, no stress, anxietyx etc for suchx, anyx, bactx or not doesn't matter, do things not stressx, anxioux etc about things

  13. Me: *thinks im dumb, weak, ugly, slow and bad at grammar*

    Video: You're not what you think you are

    Me: 😀

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