Live Dirty, Eat Clean - Growing a Healthy Microbiome


By Nancy Smorch

As promised, here’s some more information to digest (pun intended!) on your gut health.

I came across this video the other day of a talk given by Dr. Robynne Chutkan about the microbiome in your gut and I wanted to pass it along to you all, because she does such an excellent job of explaining the importance of a healthy gut biome (or "garden," as she calls it), how we have gotten so far off track in terms of our gut health, and what we can do to get back on track.

I won’t spill the beans on everything she talks about - I couldn’t put it as eloquently as she does, anyway.  But I do want to share with you a couple of highlights from her talk, to hopefully to get you interested enough to watch the rest of it AND to share this video with your loved ones.

First of all, did you know that your gut micro biome - all of the bacteria, viruses, fungi and protozoa that live in our gut outnumber the amount of cells in our body by about 10 to 1?  Kind of makes us more “microbe” than human.  Hmmm….

Did you also know that the list of illness associated with an unhealthy gut biome include Chrone’s disease, auto-immune conditions, bipolar disorders and other neurological disorders, to name a few?

We’ve come to the point in our evolution where we not only need to pay attention to what we are feeding our body, but now we need to go even deeper, and pay attention to what we are feeding our gut micro biome.  Studies have been done that show that a change in the diet creates a change in the gut bacteria - and this change can happen as quickly as one day.

They have found certain strains of bacteria in the gut that are associated with inflammation and obesity, which created a whole new perspective on obesity.  And, interestingly, they can now predict leanness or obesity with about a 90% accuracy... just by looking at the gut bacteria.  Pretty interesting!

What should we be eating?  It’s going to vary from person to person, but Dr. Chutkan says it can best best be summed up with what author and food activist, Michael Pollan says, “Eat food, not too much, mostly plant based.”

What else has caused such an imbalance in our gut?  Overuse of drugs - antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs, hormones, steroids, etc., is one cause.  Our obsession with cleanliness is another cause - do we really need anti-bacterial hand washes everywhere and do we really need to be afraid of a little dirt?

I know everyone is probably sick of hearing about the overuse of antibiotics, but here is an interesting fact Dr. Chutkan stated.  Two-thirds of the visits to the doctor’s office for respiratory tract infections resulted in prescribed antibiotics.  Of those visits, 80% of them never even came close to the Center for Disease Control’s guidelines for requiring an antibiotic.  And, a majority of ear infections in kids are actually viral, so antibiotics won’t even help them anyway.

Dr. Chutkan is not stating that we avoid all drugs or visits to the doctor’s office, but what she is suggesting is that we, as patients, start asking the questions that might be a little uncomfortable at first - to basically ask the types of uncomfortable questions geared towards your health and medicine.  Questions like, “What are the side effects of this particular drug?” or “Are these drugs necessary?”  or “Is there another way to go about healing?”  It is your body, and you should take charge and demand what is best for you (and your family).

OK, I ended up giving you a bit more information on the video than I intended.  Sorry - I couldn’t help myself - I just really wanted to share it with you.

Enjoy the full "Live Dirty, Eat Clean" talk by Dr. Robynne Chutkan here.