Feet Welcome Multitude of Fungi

Feet Welcome Multitude of Fungi

Here’s a scientific finding that may knock you off your feet: At least 80 types of fungi reside on a typical person’s heel, along with 60 between the toes and 40 on the toenail.

Altogether, the feet are home to more than 100 types of fungus, more than any other area of the human body, according to a study published Wednesday by the journal Nature. And that fungal fellowship is in constant motion as we walk through life.
It may sound icky, but many of the fungi on our skin serve a very useful purpose, said study leader Julie Segre, a geneticist at the National Human Genome Research Institute in Bethesda, Md.
“One of the major functions of healthy fungi is to prevent pathogenic fungi from adhering to our skin,” where they can cause athlete’s foot, plantar warts and stubborn toenail infections, she said. “There is something about toenails that fungi just love.”
Segre is at the forefront of research on the human microbiome — the collection of microscopic bacteria,viruses, fungi and mites that live in or on our bodies. The work increasingly shows that a thriving microbiome is essential to our health by helping us digest our food, fight disease and generally keep our

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