Illustration by Benjamin Arthur for NPR

He's not just getting a cold. He's building his microbiome. hide caption

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Say hello to your microbiome, Rob Stein. Our intrepid correspondent decided to get his gut bacteria analyzed. Now he's wondering if he needs to eat more garlic and onions. Morgan Walker/NPR hide caption

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We may not see them, but we need them. hide caption

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The tale of the tape may be told, in part, by the microbes inside you. hide caption

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Streptococcus bacteria, like this strain, can be found in our guts. Janice Haney Carr/CDC Public Health Image Library hide caption

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Fungi (cyan) surround a human hair within the skin. A study in the journal Nature shows the population of fungi on human skin is more diverse that previously thought. Alex Valm, Ph.D. hide caption

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Yeast affects several aspects of beer including the foam, or head, that forms on the of the glass. If fermentation is too vigorous, too many of the foam-stabilizing proteins may be lost. Cate Gillon/Getty Images hide caption

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Twins in Malawi helped scientists discover a role the gut microbiome appears to play in severe malnutrition. Photograph courtesy of Tanya Yatsunenko hide caption

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