The human body is a host to trillions of microorganisms and bacteria that play an influential role in the overall health of the person. During the time of birth, the ‘good’ bacteria and microbes enter our bodies through the mother’s birth canal. These microbes and bacteria then start their colonization in the entire body. Slowly, these thousands of species and trillions of bacterial inhabitants live in all parts of your body and form the diverse human microbiome. It is said that the human cells present in our body are outnumbered by the microbial cells. These microbes make 90% of a human body, says Alanna Collen, author of the book 10% Human. This book carries extensive research, interviews, and insights which explains how the body’s microbes hold a key to the health and happiness of a human body.

In 10% Human, Collen writes about the dramatic changes in the types of diseases affecting humans. She poses a central question: Why are people today suffering from chronic conditions like allergies, autoimmune diseases, obesity, brain disorders instead of infectious diseases like polio and smallpox? Alanna doesn’t provide an answer to this question because scientists have yet to provide a confirmation, but she makes a convincing case that this change has something to do with the microbiome – particularly in the gut. 

Another aspect of the book explains how the microbes are changed over time due to antibiotics, diet, birth practices, age, sex, location of the host body. Collen also notes that due to the overuse of antibiotics, a lack of dietary fiber, and a failure to properly seed and nurture the infant microbiota has affected our microbiota composition, therefore making us sicker with time. But hope is not lost yet, as doctors and scientists are still finding their way to learn how to optimize the microbiota to help change the understanding of modern diseases. The most valuable feature of this science is that unlike human cells, changes in the microbes can be made for better results.

Many pieces of research and experiments have been conducted to understand the exact role of the microbiome in disease and health management. Still, many questions remain unanswered and ignored. 

Collen’s book is a revelatory and indispensable guide to open the door of boosting health using microbes as it gives detail and much-required explanation about how the body’s microbes are key to good health