Science

Kurzgesagt explains the microbiome: The secret entity fighting for control of your body

The organisms hitching a ride on our bodies can affect our weight, health and might even communicate with our brain.

Kurzgesagt – In A Nutshell is YouTube education at its finest, with its team spending more than 600 hours researching, writing and animating each of their fascinating videos.

This week’s video concerns the microbiome, the collection of microbes and microorganisms that live on our bodies.

The creators say the key lesson here is “that there is an entity in your body that you might not even be aware of and it affects all aspects of our lives”.

You may have known your body was filled with microbes, but it turns out this relationship between your body and this microbiome can affect various aspects of your health, weight and even what you desire to eat.

Furthermore, humans’ attempts to correct problems in patients’ microbiomes have seen doctors transplant excrement into them from a healthy subject – with success, but some bizarre side-effects.

Animation of a patient receiving new microbes
One patient became obese due to their excrement donor’s weight (Kurzgesagt/YouTube)

So, why do we need to know about all this? And what role do YouTube educators such as Kurzgesagt play?

“We personally find it immensely fascinating and think it is important to learn about the world and universe we live in and learn about the amazing things that go on all around us,” Kurzgesagt writer and researcher Elisabeth Steib told the Press Association.

“We would like to make education fun and be a gateway for it: to get people interested so they feel like looking for more information about certain topics after watching our videos.”

Global Handwashing Day
There’s a lot more to our bodies – and indeed the universe – than meets the eye (Matt Alexander/PA)

If you’d like to learn more – about anything from black holes to the European Union – visit Kurzgesagt’s website, or check out their Facebook and Twitter pages.

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