How Gut Bacteria Control Our Health

The Microiome Revolution: Why Microbes Control Your Life

Jack A Gilbert

The Microbiome Revolution provides a brief and user friendly introduction to the essential role the microbiome (the bacteria that colonize our gut) plays in human health. Through their research, Gilbert and other microbiologists have induced obesity, allergies, autism, depression, anxiety, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s Disease and other illnesses by manipulating intestinal bacteria in mice. Gilbert contends that specific gut bacteria can even alter behavior.

He stresses that our current obsession with eradicating bacteria (ie prescription antibiotics, antibiotics used on factory farms, antibacterial soap, toothpaste, mouthwash, etc) has dire implications for human health. The human body is an ecosystem in which microbial cells outnumber “human” cells by ten to one. Doctors increasingly view the microbiome as a vital organ, like the liver or kidneys.

Thanks to Gilbert’s crowdfunding site*, his research team has collected the microbiome profiles of hundreds of thousands of people. This baseline has enabled them to identify specific bacterial profiles associated with good health. In general, rural third world residents have the most diverse and healthiest gut bacteria, while urban residents in the industrialized world have the least diverse and the most unhealthy.

Lecture starts at 3:15.

*Ubiome – for $89 you get a Ubiome gut kit to submit a sample of your feces for analysis

 

8 thoughts on “How Gut Bacteria Control Our Health

  1. “He stresses that our current obsession with eradicating bacteria (ie prescription antibiotics, antibiotics used on factory farms, antibacterial soap, toothpaste, mouthwash, etc) has dire implications for human health”
    This to me sounds extraordinarily interesting. I thought about this in the past, but I have to think about this sa bit more! Thank you, Stuart, for bringing this to our attention.

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    • In the lecture, he talks about encouraging children to get dirty (apparently soil is a good source of healthy bacteria) – that we are actually harming them by insisting they use antibacterial soaps.

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  2. The kits in Australia are free! Here in Australia one still has to go through this stool test by handing it in personally to a lab. I believe in England all that can be done through the post. Yes, the personal hygiene has gotten out of hand and has become obsessive.

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    • Cool. Australia is also home to one of the global pioneers in the treatment of clostridium difficile, a common condition in patients who destroy their intestinal antibacteria by taking antibiotics. His name is Dr Thomas Borody and I flew to Sydney to consult with him about a chronic intestinal infection in 2012.

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