Body of Wonder Podcast

Episode #9 The Human Microbiome with Erica Sonnenburg, PhD and Justin Sonnenburg, PhD

These days, we hear a lot about gut health. And many people want to know about the effects of probiotics, antibiotics, gut inflammation, and modern digestive issues.
 
You are a walking ecosystem home to a microbial community made up of bacteria, fungi, and viruses. You may be surprised to learn that you are more bacteria DNA than you are human DNA. Many of these inhabitants are found in your gut, and they also exist on your skin and in other parts of your body. Together these trillions of organisms form your microbiome.
 
Today we ask our experts, what does this complex community do for us?
 
On this episode, Victoria Maizes and Andrew Weil are joined by guests, Erica and Justin Sonnenburg, to discuss the human microbiome. Erica is a senior research scientist in the department of microbiology and immunology at Stanford University School of Medicine and Justin is an associate professor in the same department at Stanford. Together, they wrote, The Good Gut: Taking Control of Your Weight, Your Mood, and Your Long-Term Health.
 
Erica says until recently the microbiome was a relatively understudied area, and that research is just beginning to uncover the major role it plays in our health. She discusses how the overuse of antibiotics, soaps, and chemical sanitizers may be destroying the crucial diversity of our microbiomes. We discuss how the Western diet may be starving the microbiome of essential food sources and damaging the intestines leading to inflammation. Dr. Weil shares a strategy that he finds more effective than probiotics supplements - and less expensive. Justin explains how precision medicine will use microbiome testing to harness one's unique microbiome population to treat diseases. We also discuss the research surrounding fecal transplants and how this novel treatment may be used to address illnesses like irritable bowel syndrome, allergies, and asthma in the future.
 
Learn how you can take steps to benefit your microbiome and why the right bacteria is a good thing.

Please note, the show will not advise, diagnose, or treat medical conditions. Always seek the advice of your physician or healthcare provider for questions regarding your health.

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Guest Bio

Erica Sonnenburg
Erica Sonnenburg, PhD, is a senior research scientist in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the Stanford University School of Medicine. Erica and her husband Justin Sonnenburg Ph.D are the authors of the book The Good Gut: Taking Control of Your Weight, Your Mood, and Your Long-Term Health. Their laboratory at Stanford, which has published their findings in top journals including Nature, Science, and Cell, develops and employs diverse technologies to understand basic principles that govern interactions within the intestinal microbiota and between the microbiota and the host. An ongoing objective of the research program is to devise and implement innovative strategies to prevent and treat disease in humans via the gut microbiota.
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Justin Sonnenburg
Justin Sonnenburg, PhD, is an associate professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the Stanford University School of Medicine, and recipient of the NIH Director?s New Innovator Award and Pioneer Award. Justin and his wife Erica Sonnenburg Ph.D are the authors of the book The Good Gut: Taking Control of Your Weight, Your Mood, and Your Long-Term Health. Their laboratory at Stanford, which has published their findings in top journals including Nature, Science, and Cell, develops and employs diverse technologies to understand basic principles that govern interactions within the intestinal microbiota and between the microbiota and the host. An ongoing objective of the research program is to devise and implement innovative strategies to prevent and treat disease in humans via the gut microbiota.
see more

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