The old saying from Aesop's fables-You are known by the company you keep-also applies to the trillions of microscopic bacteria and viruses that live on the human body, says a new study.
Humanity's invisible but constant companions - more bacteria hang out on the palms of your hands than there are people on Earth.
Sarah Everts noted that the astonishing diversity of microbes inhabiting every inch of the skin and parts of the interior profoundly influences your quality of life - mostly for good - from cradle to grave.
Microbes protect people from disease, make essential vitamins, and provide digestive enzymes needed to break down plant fibers for energy.
Microbes also may have a say in whether people are skinny or fat and how they smell.
The article was published in the Chemical and Engineering News, ACS' weekly newsmagazine.