I Love You…Actually I Love Your Microbiome


Published:

What determines chemistry between two people? Who has not said, “They have good chemistry together?” We hear it so often that it seems trite. Typically, we direct that remark towards a couple that looks mismatched to our judgment. We ask ourselves, “What do they see in each other?” Our usual answer is that their 'chemistry' is just right. This is often our only way of reconciling the force of attraction between these two.

However, what if the concept of chemical attraction has a direct biological basis? New research is revealing that it does and many of those reasons had not been previously expected or explored. It is becoming increasingly apparent that our microbiome has a tremendous influence upon us. The microbiome represents all the microorganisms that are in us and on us. Astoundingly, these are so numerous that they outnumber our own innate cells by a factor of ten to one or more. The current estimate is that we harbor 100 trillion cells that we would not think of as our own. Importantly, our relationship with our microbial companions is essential to our well being. Their influence is a crucial element of metabolic pathways. They are critical participants in glucose regulation, the mediation of our immune systems, and even partially regulate our emotional responses to stress. Our relationship with these obligatory microbial partners is intimate. We cannot survive without them and they cannot exist as they prefer without us. It should not be totally surprising then that they can affect our social choices and even our love life.

How could germs influence our sexual choices? Those factors had remained hidden from our appraisal until recently. We simply did not have the technological means to assess it. Now we do and current research has found that the amount of microbial life in our mouths is startling and the transfer between kissing partners is extensive. However, the particular surprise is that although frequent intimate kissing between partners does correspond to the composition of the microbes that are shared between each, there is more afoot. It seems that there is a shared linkage in microbial composition in the mouths of sexual partners that operates regardless of kissing frequency. The implication is that there is a background connection with the microbial realm that might influence our initial choices of sexual partners. For example, the microbiota on the back of the tongue is more similar between kissing partners than unrelated individuals, but that identity does not clearly correlate to any kissing behavior or frequency. Nor does it appear to be due to specifically shared environmental factors. Something extends beyond that. Could it mean that we are attracted to one another on the basis of forces that are unapparent to our typical senses?

There is other evidence to suggest that this the case and that it is based on our immunological status. We depend on that for our survival. So it should not be shocking that our immunological status might affect our choice of mates. We all exist on a planet also inhabited by aggressive microorganisms. How might any organism cope? Our evolutionary path, and that of all other complex organisms includes mechanisms directed towards protecting our offspring as much as possible. This imperative significantly governs how we select mates. As part of this process, we each have a group of genes that is crucial to immunological defenses. Experiments have showed that we are unconsciously attracted to other partners whose immunological background is complementary to our own. In order to best protect our children against an intrusive and agitating microbial realm, we tend to seek to mate with those that differ from ourselves on an immunological basis. Although this may seem odd on first consideration, it actually makes sense from an evolutionary perspective. The combination of immunological capacities of healthy mates that differ confers better protection to the next generation. There are research studies that reinforce this finding. Experiments have demonstrated that sexual partners are attracted to certain body odors. For human odors, microbes matter. However, in a crucial evolutionary twist, that odor attraction is not for similarity but for opposite types. In the aggregate as a species, we seem to search for other sexual partners that are not our match immunologically. What might underlie this instinct? The answer lies within both our own personal genes and our particular microbial complement. On an evolutionary basis, our species is best protected by the mixing of opposing genes and microbes. Successful mating proceeds for many reasons, but there is an important one that has been previously obscure. That additional reason is our critical association with a vast microbial partnership that is crucial to our immunological balance. When contrasting individuals both mix genes and share microbes, the next generation gets a boost.

Even more astoundingly, the influence of the microbial sphere extends well beyond these factors. Research has demonstrated that infection with certain parasites can overtly guide sexual choice. Such an example is a parasite called Toxoplasmosis. Cats serve as an intermediate host but it also frequently infects humans. Surprisingly, this common parasite has been shown to affect human behavior, physiology and even our physical appearance. As strange as it may seem, in carefully controlled experiments, human females perceive infected males as more dominant and more masculine than uninfected males.

What should we make of all this? The next time you gaze lovingly at your favorite other, tip your hat mentally to your hidden microbial partners. In truth, your microbiome might have made you do it.

Dr. Bill Miller has been a physician in academic and private practice for over 30 years. He is the author of The Microcosm Within: Evolution and Extinction in the Hologenome. He currently serves as a scientific advisor to OmniBiome Therapeutics, a pioneering company in discovering and developing solutions to problems in human fertility and health through management of the human microbiome. For more information, www.themicrocosmwithin.com.

See also:
The Energies of Love: Harnessing the Invisible Forces of Your Relationship
Evolving the Soul-Centered Relationship

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Daily Astrology

December 11, 2019

Full Moon fever is on in full force. Loving Venus is conjunct sober Saturn early this morning. Partnerships face critical scrutiny. The shine on some relationships may be tarnished. Actions speak louder than words. It could be time to change the rules…
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Alternative Health Directory

Browse all listings »

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Calendar

December 2019

Come shine with us! Join us in harmony and in our goal to bring the light of Spiritualism forward to all those who are searching.

Where:
VFW Post 2597
775 Boston Rd, Rt 3A
Billerica, MA
View map »


Sponsor: The Spiritualist Fellowship Church Of New England
Website »

More information

A beautiful collection of messages from Jeshua Ben Joseph (Jesus) that will transform your life, as it did his. Coming together to study these teachings, to ponder, to savor, to deepen our...

Cost: $25 per class

Where:
Heart and Soul Holistic Healing Center
130 Massapoag Avenue
Sharon, MA  02067
View map »


Sponsor: Heart and Soul Holistic
Telephone: 781-258-9942
Contact Name: Barbara Ann Strassman
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

2nd and 4th Monday of every month This psychic message circle is for anyone wishing to raise their connection using their psychic centers known as the “clairs.” Learn how to use...

Cost: $20

Where:
Messages From Heaven Healing and Learning Center
646 Central Street
Suite 3
Leominster, MA
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Show More...
Show Less...

What is a vigorous yoga practice, and who can benefit from it? With Marissa McAleer and Julie Rost This workshop will explore a more physical practice of yoga and how it can be used to...

Cost: $45

Where:
YogaLife Institute of NH
6 Chestnut Street
Lower Level
Exeter, NH  03833
View map »


Sponsor: YogaLife Institute of NH
Contact Name: Alice Bentley
Website »

More information

The Wellness Roundtable Holistic Practitioners Network creates an environment for wellness practitioners to inspire, educate and support one another, while building community and encouraging...

Cost: $20 (Drop-ins are welcome)

Where:
Sohum Yoga and Meditation Studio
30 Lyman St
#108B
Westborough, MA
View map »


Sponsor: 01581
Telephone: 508-329-3338
Contact Name: Ritu Kapur
Website »

More information

How would it feel to have direct education on changing your feelings so you do start to ask for what you truly want? Each month, come and practice hands-on skills to get into the habit of...

Cost: $15

Where:
Awaken Holistic Counseling Services
2 Liberty St., Unit 2L
Newburyport, MA  01950
View map »


Sponsor: Awaken Holistic Counseling Services, LLC
Telephone: 978-255-7893
Contact Name: Kerri Morrison
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The nights of December fall dark and early. Homes are filled with warm firelight and flickering candle glow. As the year draws to a close, pause under the peaceful light of December’s Full...

Cost: $10–15 suggested donation

Where:
A Touch of Magick
195 S Main Street
Uxbridge, MA
View map »


Telephone: (508) 779-7386
Website »

More information

Sound baths provide an opportunity to relax and journey into a healing, meditative and rejuvenating state. There is nothing you need to do, know or believe. Join us for a powerful, yet casual...

Cost: $25

Where:
Moth & Moon Studio
173 South River Rd
Suite #4
Bedford, NH  03110
View map »


Sponsor: Jeffrey Charles Warren
Contact Name: Jeffrey Warren
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Multi-skilled, and varied holistic practitioner group in Lincoln Area / Metro-West Boston welcomes new practitioner-members. Open invitation to any local practitioner, teacher, researcher,...

Cost: Free, or $5-$15

Where:
Member-homes/offices
Lincoln, MA  01773-4107


Sponsor: Lincoln Area Wellness Collaborative
Telephone: 781-738-1920
Contact Name: Jai Kaur

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

This is a class that will teach you how to make your own wire-wrapped gemstone pendant! Don’t be discouraged—it is simpler than you think, and you’ll have great fun in crafting...

Cost: $40 per person or $35 more than one, includes supplies

Where:
The Healing Power of Flowers — Heaven and Earth
68 Stiles Rd, Unit A
Salem, NH  03079
View map »


Sponsor: The Healing Power of Flowers - Heaven and Earth
Telephone: 603-275-7688
Contact Name: Stacey
Website »

More information

Learn to overcome spinal tensions through therapeutic postures, designed to decompress your spine and relieve pain. Taught by a certified yoga therapist, classes bring you through poses...

Cost: 5/$50

Where:
Bliss Through Yoga
484 Bedford St
East Bridgewater, MA  02333
View map »


Telephone: 508-331-3564
Contact Name: Janice O'Brien
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags