Clostridium difficile is a microorganism that sometimes creates toxins that attack the inside lining of the intestines. It is one of the most important causes of infectious diarrhea--and it can even lead to life-threatening complications. In fact, last year alone, Clostridium difficile (or C. diff as it is often abbreviated) was responsible for twenty nine thousand deaths in the U.S. alone.
Over the course of the past decade or so, the notion that our internal microbial ecosystem has an enormous impact on our overall health has become one of the most widely popularized and reported-upon fields of biological research. Cultural awareness about the potential dangers of overusing sanitizing products and/or antibiotics is at an all-time high, and probiotic foods and beverages are all the rage.
Or is it the other way around?
The twenty-four-hour cycle of physiological processes, known as the circadian rhythm, is present in virtually all living organisms. This even applies to the bacteria that live inside of our bodies. Although the circadian rhythms of internal microbes cannot be directly influenced by sunlight, they still tend to synch up with the circadian rhythm of the host creature. As researchers at Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center discovered in a recent study, this synchronization—or, in some cases, the lack thereof—can have a significant impact on human health.