Heads Up

Study discovers approximately 70,000 new viruses that live in the human gut

March 19th, 2021

The human body is a fascinating thing that scientists are always discovering more about.

Every time they figure something out, it seems like another discovery is right around the corner.

This study about all the viruses in the body’s gut will have your jaw on the floor.

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Flickr/Manteo Alterno Source: Flickr/Manteo Alterno

Have you heard of the brain-gut connection?

Did you know your gut actually has a brain known as the Enteric Nervous System (ENS)? If you’ve ever got a feeling in your gut that turned out to be true, you were likely pulling information from this “second brain.”

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YouTube Screenshot/Duke University Source: YouTube Screenshot/Duke University

New science, and the connection between the gut and brain, is opening a whole new realm of scientific information on human health related to the gut.

According to John Hopkins Medicine:

“The ENS is two thin layers of more than 100 million nerve cells lining your gastrointestinal tract from esophagus to rectum.”

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Flickr/James Riker Source: Flickr/James Riker

Inside this “gut-brain,” scientists have discovered approximately 70,000 new viruses that were unknown until now.

According to Scientific America, there are approximately 380 trillion viruses in the human body—that’s right, we said trillion!

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YouTube Screenshot/JHM Source: YouTube Screenshot/JHM

As it turns out, humans are less one organism than a whole collection of them!

The Director of Johns Hopkins Center for Neurogastroenterology, Jay Pasricha M.B.B.S, M.D., said:

“The enteric nervous system doesn’t seem capable of thought as we know it, but it communicates back and forth with our big brain—with profound results . . . For decades, researchers and doctors thought that anxiety and depression contributed to these problems. But our studies and others show that it may also be the other way around.”

On February 18th, 2021, Cell published a study known as the Gut Phage Database that collected information from 28 countries from six different continents, Asia, the USA, Australia, Peru, the UK and Tanzania.

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Cell Source: Cell

What is the Gut Phage Database (GPD)?

According to Cell’s website, the GPD is:

“A collection of ∼142,000 non-redundant viral genomes (>10 kb) obtained by mining a dataset of 28,060 globally distributed human gut metagenomes and 2,898 reference genomes of cultured gut bacteria.”

Working as a massive catalog of phage genomes, the GPD will likely help revolutionize what we know about the gut and improve virome studies all around.

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Flickr/Daniel Foster Source: Flickr/Daniel Foster

The study done by Cell analyzed over 28,000 gut microbiome samples!

When doing the study, researchers found that the amount and diversity of the viruses studied were much higher than expected. Even more, the data collected will likely give more information and enhance understanding of how these viruses can affect human health.

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Flickr/Sanofi Pasteur Source: Flickr/Sanofi Pasteur

The gut is known to be an extremely complex and biodiverse environment.

Imbalances in our gut microbiome can cause certain diseases like Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), allergies and obesity.

With that said, little is known about the role that our gut bacteria play in our health.

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YouTube Screenshot/Rehab and Revive Source: YouTube Screenshot/Rehab and Revive

Using the Gut Phage Database, Wellcome Sanger Institute used a DNA sequencing method to make the new discovery.

The method they used is called metagenomics, and with it, they were able to identify the approximately 140,000 new bacterias living in the gut. About 70,000 of them were previously completely unknown!

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YouTube Screenshot/Dr. Eric Berg Source: YouTube Screenshot/Dr. Eric Berg

Studies like this help advance what we know about the human body, and in turn, give us a higher quality of life while also helping to cure diseases worldwide.

To see more on the gut-brain connection, watch the video by Duke University below!

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

Source: Scientific America, Cell.com, John Hopkins Medicine, Wellcome Sanger Institute