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

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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.


From the Hardcover edition.
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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.


From the Hardcover edition.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Penguin
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Published on
Apr 21, 2015
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Pages
320
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ISBN
9780698181021
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Language
English
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Genres
Health & Fitness / Diet & Nutrition / Nutrition
Medical / Microbiology
Science / Life Sciences / Biology
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Losing weight for good is truly possible with a science-based approach to gut health.

Recent cutting-edge research shows that human intestinal microbiota influence metabolism, appetite, energy, hormones, inflammation, and insulin resistance. Because gut microflora plays a central role in weight management, losing weight is much more than cutting calories, fat, or carbs. When the trillions of live bacteria in our digestive tract—the gut microbiome—are balanced, excess pounds melt away and we feel revitalized. 

A leading authority on digestive health and the gut microbiome, Dr. Gerard E. Mullin shares a proven, science-based program to restore and retain weight loss by achieving a balanced gut flora in The Gut Balance Revolution. He reveals how to stifle the fat-forming, disease-promoting gut bacteria, reseed your gut with good fat-burning ones, and fertilize those friendly flora with just the right foods to reboot, rebalance, and renew your health—and lose weight for good. It's all grounded in hard science and his over 20 years of clinical experience with patients in his medical practice. Dr. Gerry Mullin's trailblazing program provides:

• Research: The latest, up-to-date frontline science behind how balancing your gut flora can burn fat and restore health
• Reboot, Rebalance, Renew: Step-by-step meals plans, food charts, plus 50 delicious, easy recipes
• Rev Up: An exercise routine for each phase of the process
• Real Life: Bona fide success stories of people who seamlessly lost up to 40 pounds—and kept it off!
“Engrossing … [An] expedition through the hidden and sometimes horrifying microbial domain.” —Wall Street Journal

“Fascinating—and full of the kind of factoids you can't wait to share.” —Scientific American
 
Parasites can live only inside another animal and, as Kathleen McAuliffe reveals, these tiny organisms have many evolutionary motives for manipulating the behavior of their hosts. With astonishing precision, parasites can coax rats to approach cats, spiders to transform the patterns of their webs, and fish to draw the attention of birds that then swoop down to feast on them. We humans are hardly immune to their influence. Organisms we pick up from our own pets are strongly suspected of changing our personality traits and contributing to recklessness and impulsivity—even suicide. Germs that cause colds and the flu may alter our behavior even before symptoms become apparent.
 
Parasites influence our species on the cultural level, too. Drawing on a huge body of research, McAuliffe argues that our dread of contamination is an evolved defense against parasites. The horror and revulsion we are programmed to feel when we come in contact with people who appear diseased or dirty helped pave the way for civilization, but may also be the basis for major divisions in societies that persist to this day. This Is Your Brain on Parasites is both a journey into cutting-edge science and a revelatory examination of what it means to be human.
 
“If you’ve ever doubted the power of microbes to shape society and offer us a grander view of life, read on and find yourself duly impressed.” —Heather Havrilesky, Bookforum 
"Eyeopening... Fascinating... may presage a paradigm shift in medicine.” 
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"Teeming with information and big ideas... Outstanding.”
—Booklist (starred review)

The origin of asthma, autism, Alzheimer's, allergies, cancer, heart disease, obesity, and even some kinds of depression is now clear. Award-winning researcher on the microbiome, professor Rodney Dietert presents a new paradigm in human biology that has emerged in the midst of the ongoing global epidemic of noncommunicable diseases.

     The Human Superorganism makes a sweeping, paradigm-shifting argument. It demolishes two fundamental beliefs that have blinkered all medical thinking until very recently: 1) Humans are better off as pure organisms free of foreign microbes; and 2) the human genome is the key to future medical advances. The microorganisms that we have sought to eliminate have been there for centuries supporting our ancestors. They comprise as much as 90 percent of the cells in and on our bodies—a staggering percentage! More than a thousand species of them live inside us, on our skin, and on our very eyelashes. Yet we have now significantly reduced their power and in doing so have sparked an epidemic of noncommunicable diseases—which now account for 63 percent of all human deaths. 

     Ultimately, this book is not just about microbes; it is about a different way to view humans. The story that Dietert tells of where the new biology comes from, how it works, and the ways in which it affects your life is fascinating, authoritative, and revolutionary. Dietert identifies foods that best serve you, the superorganism; not new fad foods but ancient foods that have made sense for millennia. He explains protective measures against unsafe chemicals and drugs. He offers an empowering self-care guide and the blueprint for a revolution in public health. We are not what we have been taught. Each of us is a superorganism. The best path to a healthy life is through recognizing that profound truth.


From the Hardcover edition.
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