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5 Mind-Blowing Articles on the Gut Microbiome

We are well aware that we are not the only website that aims to provide reliable and interesting information on the microbiome and probiotics. Many other websites share this passion with us. And as we want to bring this information closer to our readers, we have listed five mind-blowing articles on the gut microbiome and our health.

The microbes in one grad student’s gut over a year. From david et al 2014

1. The Quantified Microbiome Self (National Geographic Article by Carl Zimmer)

You come for the facts, but stay a little longer for the beautiful graphs.

The main point of the article is that the microbiome is ever-changing in composition, but certain events such as food poisoning can alter the gut microbiome in such a way that it may even change permanently afterwards. The article is a description of a scientific study.

This observation is displayed elegantly in graphs that provide an immediate overview of the microbial change in the guts of the two participants over about a year.

What makes this article interesting to me is the curiousity that I have about my own gut composition and the possibility it invokes that in the near-future self-assesment of the gut microbiome becomes readily possible.

Imagine the day that we will know how the pasta of the day before affected our gut health. A scenario that is probably somewhere between a utopia and a dystopia.

You can find the link to the article here.

Illustration by Benjamin Arthur for NPR

2. Gut Bacteria Might Guide The Workings Of Our Minds (NPR article by Rob Stein)

How does your gut talk to your brain?

The article basically revolves around the notion of the gut-brain connection. In other words, what is the scientific equivalence of our ‘gut feeling’? How does the gut and the microbiome within affect our moods and dispositions? This article touches upon these questions. While the author admits that the research is in its early stages, the connection seems promising to our mental health.

To highlight just one example in the article, when rats had the connective nerve between their brain and their gut disconnected, they were unable to function adequately in a complex lab setting.

This article is especially interesting to me because it suggests that we might one day improve many aspects of our brain and psychology through taking care of our gut. Perhaps we will be able to eradicate most of the mental issues that haunt us today? What would the role of probiotic food and supplements be in our path towards a better mental hygiene?

Now, before I ask even more questions, follow your gut feeling and read the article here.

Sean McSorley for NYT

3. Germs in Your Gut Are Talking to Your Brain. Scientists Want to Know What They’re Saying (NYT article by Carl Zimmer)

This article can be seen as a recent (2019) elaboration on the previous on the list (2013). Indeed, scientists still admit their uncertainties but luckily the author is able to highlight specific ways in which the gut might affect the brain.

The article describes the change in perception of the role of the microbiota for mental health. The author then proceeds to describe how specific mental issues such as Alzheimer’s and autism can potentially be alleviated or prevented through a healthy gut.

The implications are clear, and I am especially interested in how treating the gut of pregnant mothers, babies, and children could affect disease prevalence in children and adults. Perhaps we can even think of probiotic vaccinations next to immunization once the research is more solid on this topic.

Do you want to understand where my unbridled optimism comes from? Then you can go on and check the article here.

Photograph by Jeffrey L. Rotman, Corbis for National Geographic

4. Study of Hunter-Gatherers’ Guts Reveals Ancient Microbes (National Geographic Article by Andrew Curry)

This article resonates with our intuiton that modern life might cost us more than we can immediately notice.

Did you know that distal hunter-and-gatherers have a more similar microbiome than the industrialized people they live close to?

In this article, a tribe in the Peruvian Amazonis highlighted to explain this phenonemon.

Especially one kind of microbiotum, treponomes, seem to be only prevalent in those who live more traditional lives. As groups and individuals move more towards a typically industrialized life, their microbiome loses more diversity. At what cost is this change?

What fascinates me about this topic is that since bacterial diversity seems to be crucial to our health, we might have made our lives harder and our health more difficult to manage.

Or to put it in the words of Cecil Lewis, the geneticist featured in the article, “these bacteria co-evolved with primates for millions of years, and now they’re gone in industrialized people: why are they absent, and does that matter?”

Read the article here.

5. Do Hispanic Immigrants Live Longer Thanks to Their Bacterial Diversity? (Probiotics.info)

Yes, we might be biased, but we haven’t found a similar theory anywhere else.

The basic point of this article is that Hispanics, given their socioeconomic status and other factors, are healthier and live longer lifes than expected.

What causes this? Several factors like the healthy migrant effect and traditional food culture are succesful in explaining some of it.

However, also considering the main point of the previous article, it could also very well be that the microbial diversity they have in their native places, might prove to be somewhat protective.

This article argues for that possibility.

Fatih Kılıç

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