Could Eating Honey Be A Form of Microbial Time Travel?

Did you know that there are billions of years of biological information encoded within your cells, and that depending on what you do or do not eat, the information incarnates or remains latent? 


When we look at ourselves through this microbial lens, where we “end” and the living and breathing environment “begins” is no longer as clear as the boundary of our skin. What we eat or expose ourselves chemically, for instance, not only becomes of crucial significance in determining the state of our health and disease risk, but to our very identity. 


This information is beginning to affect the way we look at ourselves as a species in evolutionary terms. In fact, the hologenome theory of evolution states that we are a “holobiont,” a host whose fate is and always was inseparably bound to all its symbiotic microbes. 


As with classical evolutionary theory on our how genes evolve, selective pressures from the environment have shaped the types and numbers of microbes that now form the basis for both our health and disease susceptibility. And what are some of the most important “selective pressures” that have gone into creating our holobiont selves over the course of unimaginably vast swaths of time? Dietary, environmental, and cultural ones, of course. 

When Hippocrates said “we are what we eat,” this was true not only in molecular terms, i.e. the food we eat produces molecular building blocks from which our bodies are constructed, but also in microbial terms, i.e., the microbes we expose ourselves to and cultivate through nutrition affect and/or permanently alter our holobiont selves. Which leads us to the topic of honey and “microbial time travel.”

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