98.6°F (37°C) is generally accepted as a "normal" body temperature, but I've always run a bit cooler than than. Turns out, I'm super on-trend...
The average temperature of the human body has been steadily declining since the mid 1800s and scientists have had no idea why - perhaps until now. A new study suggests our evolving gut bacteria very well might the cause.
The study observed hospital patients with sepsis, a condition where body temperature fluctuates wildly and is a key predictor of living versus dying.
Patients with a specific type of bacteria - called Firmicutes - experienced higher fevers than others. This is the first ever instance of our gut microbiome being linked with body temperature, and while it doesn't solve the mystery of why our insides have been cooling over time, it yields a strong hypothesis.
Here's why this matters. In the future, it will likely be possible to modify people's body temperatures by modifying their microbiome, which is a monumental game changer for anyone with a condition like sepsis that causes dangerous fevers.