Big Week For Microbes

Listen to your guts


Just in time for Valentine’s Day, scientists have evidence that the microbes in your gut may be directly impacting things like fuckability, fertility, and overall health. All of the organisms in your digestive system form an ecosystem that’s specific to factors like your genes, your immune system*, and your diet — and depending on who you have hanging out in there, you might be more or less predisposed to a lot of situations:

  1. According to Moises Velasquez-Manoff, an experiment that fed a probiotic microbe from human breast milk to a test group of mice found that “the animals grew unusually lustrous fur… elevated testosterone levels and oversize testicles.” In other words, adding different microbes to their gut ecology made the mice sexy. And not just the males, either. Females saw heightened “levels of a protein… which helps to prevent inflammatory disease and ensure successful pregnancy,” as well as a spike in oxytocin, the hormone our brains use to build bonds. So having more microbes in their digestive system seemed to positively impact… pretty much all of their other systems. Nice.
  2. New research from Lund University in Sweden shows that intestinal bacteria can impact the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Again looking at mice, they were able to determine that “mice suffering from Alzheimer’s have a different composition of gut bacteria compared to mice that are healthy.” A control group who had no gut bacteria found themselves with less of Alzheimers’ signature plaque in their brains than some of the others, so in other words: the microbes in our guts seem to somehow play a role in how intensely diseases like Alzheimer’s manifest in individuals’ bodies. They can help and they can hurt. So, ostensibly, diversifying our gut bacteria might be a part of how we keep healthy and prevent disease.

What’s really romantic, though, is that we’re designed to be attracted to people whose microbial background is different than ours. Our bodies want us to diversify our gut portfolios. According to Velasquez-Manoff:

In one classic Swiss study, women were asked to sniff T-shirts previously worn by men and rate their pleasantness. The women tended to prefer shirts from men whose immune-system genes were most different from their own, and with whom they’d most likely produce the fittest offspring. Their noses led them, unawares, to the best genetic matches.

So in a way, kissing is like getting a vaccine. And eating a yogurt could be the hormonal equivalent of a red sports car. :’) Romantique.

Now get out there and smooch somebody (for your gut health).


*which colds and flus and diarrheas you’ve caught over the years