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Gut flora: You are what your bacteria eat

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What gut flora is lurking inside of you? Scientists want to know. istockphoto

(CBS) They say you are what you eat, but it turns out you might really be what's hiding in your belly.

According to a new study, people around the world, regardless of gender, race or age, can be grouped into one of three categories depending on the clusters of  bacteria, also called gut flora, that live inside their intestines.

While that may be more than you can stomach, the findings are important because gut flora can play a big role in how your body digests both food and medicine.

"Our results show that we may have uncovered a new 'biological fingerprint' on the same level as blood types and tissue types," Oluf Borbye Pedersen, a professor at the University of Copenhagen and an investigator on the study, said in a statement.

While the current research, conducted by an international consortium called MetaHIT, doesn't show how each bacteria grouping actually works, Pederson hopes that the discovery will open the door to diet advice and drugs tailored to individuals.

The study is published in the journal Nature.

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