One of the keys to good health may turn out to involve managing our internal fermentation. ~Michael Pollan
Adam Rifkin stashed this in #health
Michael Pollan says 100 Trillion Bacteria Make Up Your Microbiome:
A handful of microbiologists have begun sounding the alarm about our civilization’s unwitting destruction of the human microbiome and its consequences. Important microbial species may have already gone extinct, before we have had a chance to learn who they are or what they do. What we think of as an interior wilderness may in fact be nothing of the kind, having long ago been reshaped by unconscious human actions. Taking the ecological metaphor further, the “Westernized microbiome” most of us now carry around is in fact an artifact of civilization, no more a wilderness today than, say, the New Jersey Meadowlands.
To obtain a clearer sense of what has been lost, María Gloria Dominguez-Bello, a Venezuelan-born microbiologist at New York University, has been traveling to remote corners of the Amazon to collect samples from hunter-gatherers who have had little previous contact with Westerners or Western medicine. “We want to see how the human microbiota looks before antibiotics, before processed food, before modern birth,” she told me. “These samples are really gold.”
Preliminary results indicate that a pristine microbiome — of people who have had little or no contact with Westerners — features much greater biodiversity, including a number of species never before sequenced, and, as mentioned, much higher levels of prevotella than is typically found in the Western gut. Dominguez-Bello says these vibrant, diverse and antibiotic-naïve microbiomes may play a role in Amerindians’ markedly lower rates of allergies, asthma, atopic disease and chronic conditions like Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Found via @mabb0tt tweet...
And it's only just beginning.