In this series of videos, Microbiome Insights co-founder Dr. Brett Finlay, along with Dr. Jennifer Gardy, answers questions about the microbiome and its role in human health and development—making a case for rethinking what it means to live a healthy lifestyle.
Rethinking germs: Healthy living with our microbes Part 1 Q&A
Topics addressed in Part 1 of the Q&A session include:
- How clean should we be? Finlay says we don’t need antibacterial soaps, nor do we need to sterilize our homes. In general, just keeping the numbers of microbes in your home down is enough. In certain cases, more cleaning is necessary: when getting rid of mold or when cooking raw meat, for example.
- How do we receive our first dose of microbes? From our mothers during birth. This initial microbial community has effects on early life development.
- Is coffee bad for the microbiome? And how does diet affect the microbiome?
- How is inflammation related to health and aging? Finlay gives an example of how Parkinson’s disease may actually originate in the gut.
Rethinking germs: Healthy living with our microbes Part 2 Q&A
In Part 2 Finlay discusses:
- How do early life microbes influence allergies and asthma? He explains that they shape the immune system; he describes some early results of research into timing of exposure to common allergens like peanuts.
- Should we let kids be dirty? Finlay talks about the importance of kids’ exposure to the world and its microbial environments, a topic that’s detailed in the book he co-authored, “Let Them Eat Dirt”.
- Probiotics and prebiotics—what are they and what do we know?
- How important is diet for maintaining a healthy microbiome? Hint—the white sugar and white flour diet is not ideal.
- What will be the focus of personalized medicine in future?
- What threat do antibiotics pose?
Rethinking germs: Healthy living with our microbes Part 3 Final Thoughts
Finlay gives a final bit of advice on taking care of our microbiomes: it’s really important to make sure our hygiene practices and products like antibacterial soaps are used appropriately: for example, in cases where infection control is required or when dealing with vulnerable groups like seniors.
He advises not be alarmed by the microbial world—but rather, to recognise and respect the organisms living on and in you because they are part of what makes you who you are.