Nearly every health website offering eternal youth and beauty will sooner or later focus in on gut health and improving your microbiome, as if the microbiome were something that needed fixing. In fact, much of you isn’t you, and that’s okay. For every cell in your body, there’s another tiny single-celled creature that also calls your body home. Far from being germs we should eradicate, these ancient friends allow us to digest food, breathe air, and fight off disease. They were here long before us and will undoubtedly remain long after we’re gone. They are our microbiome, and after eons of cohabitation, we are finally getting to know one another better. Of course, we aren’t always the best of neighbors. Autoimmune diseases, allergies, depression, and Alzheimer’s may be diseases of an unhappy microbiome. Come join world-renowned microbiologists Martin Blaser, Jo Handelsman, Rob Knight, and David Relman as they zoom in on the micro world and zoom out on its macro influence.
The Big Ideas Series is supported in part by the John Templeton Foundation.