The Good Gut: Taking Control of Your Weight, Your Mood, and Your Long-term Health

The Good Gut: Taking Control of Your Weight, Your Mood, and Your Long-term Health

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Overview

The groundbreaking science behind the surprising source of good health

Stanford University’s Justin and Erica Sonnenburg are pioneers in the most exciting and potentially transformative field in the entire realm of human health and wellness, the study of the relationship between our bodies and the trillions of organisms representing thousands of species to which our bodies play host, the microbes that we collectively call the microbiota. The microbiota interacts with our bodies in a number of powerful ways; the Sonnenburgs argue that it determines in no small part whether we’re sick or healthy, fit or obese, sunny or moody. The microbiota has always been with us, and in fact has coevolved with humans, entwining its functions with ours so deeply, the Sonnenburgs show us, humans are really composite organisms having both microbial and human parts. But now, they argue, because of changes to diet, antibiotic over-use, and over-sterilization, our gut microbiota is facing a “mass extinction event,” which is causing our bodies to go haywire, and may be behind the mysterious spike in some of our most troubling modern afflictions, from food allergies to autism, cancer to depression. It doesn’t have to be this way.

The Good Gut
offers a new plan for health that focuses on how to nourish your microbiota, including recipes and a menu plan. In this groundbreaking work, the Sonnenburgs show how we can keep our microbiota off the endangered species list and how we can strengthen the community that inhabits our gut and thereby improve our own health. The answer is unique for each of us, and it changes as you age.

In this important and timely investigation, the Sonnenburgs look at safe alternatives to antibiotics; dietary and lifestyle choices to encourage microbial health; the management of the aging microbiota; and the nourishment of your own individual microbiome.

Caring for our gut microbes may be the most important health choice we can make.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780698181021
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/21/2015
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 245,719
File size: 2 MB
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

JUSTIN SONNENBURG, PhD, is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the Stanford University School of Medicine. In 2009, he was the recipient of an NIH Director’s New Innovator Award.

ERICA SONNENBURG, PhD, is currently a senior research scientist at the Stanford University School of Medicine in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, where she studies the role of diet on the human intestinal microbiota.

Read an Excerpt

We all know that much of our health is predeter­mined by our genes. We also know that we can gener­ally improve our health if we eat right, exercise, and manage our stress. But how to do those things is a matter of great debate. Many well-meaning health programs are focused solely on weight loss or heart health, but what if there was a second genome, one that held the key to much of our overall health, but one that we could influence by very specific (and often surprising) lifestyle choices? Well, this second genome exists. It belongs to the bacteria that inhabit our gut and is vital to our overall well-being, in countless ways. The details of how these intestinal bac­teria, known as the microbiota, are hard-wired into health and disease are starting to come to light and they are reshaping what it means to be human.

As scientists try to unravel the causes behind the prevalence of predominantly Western afflictions such as cancer, diabetes, allergies, asthma, autism, and inflamma­tory bowel diseases, it is becoming increasingly clear that the microbiota plays an important role in the development of each of these conditions and poten­tially many others. Our bacterial inhabitants touch all aspects of our biology in some way, directly or indirectly. But the modern world has changed the way we eat and how we live, and as a result, our in­testinal microbiota is facing challenges that it has not experienced in the entirety of human evolution.

Our digestive system is much more than a col­lection of human cells that surround our last few meals—it also contains a dense colony of bacteria and other microorganisms. In fact, for every one human cell in our body, we house an additional ten bacte­rial cells that amount to a filibuster­proof majority that legislates much of our biology. But before you start thinking of yourself as a human being with bacterial cells inside, it may be more accurate to consider yourself as a bacterial being with a human cell coating.

More than we ever expected, the gut microbiota sets the dial on our immune system. If the gut bacteria are healthy, it’s likely that the immune system is running well. Much is being learned about how the microbiota impacts our brains. The brain-gut axis impacts our well-being profoundly, far more than just letting us know when it’s time to eat. Gut bacteria can affect moods and behavior and may influence the progres­sion of some neurological conditions.

Table of Contents

Foreword xi

Introduction 1

1 What Is the Microbiota and Why Should I Care? 9

2 Assembling Our Lifelong Community of Companions 35

3 Setting the Dial on the Immune System 61

4 The Transients 85

5 Trillions of Mouths to Feed 111

6 A Gut Feeling 137

7 Eat Shit and Live 163

8 The Aging Microbiota 187

9 Managing Your Internal Fermentation 209

Menus and Recipes 227

Acknowledgments 267

Appendix 269

Notes 271

Bibliography 283

Index 293

What People are Saying About This

David Perlmutter

Virtually every aspect of health and vitality is influenced by the collection of microbes living within us. The Good Gut empowers the reader with the opportunity to embrace this leading edge science in an actionable, user-friendly way. --David Perlmutter, MD and author, #1 New York Times Bestseller, Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth About Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar - Your Brain's Silent Killers

From the Publisher

David Perlmutter, MD and author, #1 New York Times Bestseller, Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth About Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar - Your Brain's Silent Killers
"Virtually every aspect of health and vitality is influenced by the collection of microbes living within us. The Good Gut empowers the reader with the opportunity to embrace this leading edge science in an actionable, user-friendly way."

Mark Hyman, MD, Director, Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine, and author, #1 New York Times bestseller, The Blood Sugar Solution
"We are facing a mass genocide threatening the lives of billions of people across the globe. It is the killing and harming of our own inner garden, our gut bacteria, by our processed diet, antibiotics, acid blockers and other gut busting drugs.  The Good Gut for the first time connects the dots between the health of our gut flora or microbiome and our health. A bad gut causes heart disease, obesity, diabetes, cancer, autoimmune disease and more, while a good gut can prevent and heal most of what ails us in the 21st century.  If you want to learn how to cultivate your own inner garden and create abundant good health, read The Good Gut!"

David S. Ludwig, MD, PhD, Professor, Harvard Medical School and author, Ending the Food Fight
"Microbes in our gut outnumber the cells in our body by more than 3 to 1.  We’d better make peace with them.  The Sonnenburgs show us how in their fascinating book, The Good Gut.  I recommend it to everyone who eats."

David S. Ludwig

Microbes in our gut outnumber the cells in our body by more than 3 to 1. We'd better make peace with them. The Sonnenburgs show us how in their fascinating book, The Good Gut. I recommend it to everyone who eats. --David S. Ludwig, MD, PhD, Professor, Harvard Medical School and author, Ending the Food Fight

Mark Hyman

We are facing a mass genocide threatening the lives of billions of people across the globe. It is the killing and harming of our own inner garden, our gut bacteria, by our processed diet, antibiotics, acid blockers and other gut busting drugs. The Good Gut for the first time connects the dots between the health of our gut flora or microbiome and our health. A bad gut causes heart disease, obesity, diabetes, cancer, autoimmune disease and more, while a good gut can prevent and heal most of what ails us in the 21st century. If you want to learn how to cultivate your own inner garden and create abundant good health, read The Good Gut! --Mark Hyman, MD, Director, Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine, and author, #1 New York Times bestseller, The Blood Sugar Solution

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