From one of today’s leading experts on the emerging science of the microbiome comes a ground-breaking book that offers, for the first time, evidence that the gut-microbiome plays a pivotal role in the health crises of the twenty-first century.
In his acclaimed book, The Mind-Gut Connection, physician, UCLA professor, and researcher Dr. Emeran Mayer offered groundbreaking evidence of the critical role of the microbiome in neurological and cognitive health, proving once and for all the power and legitimacy of the “mind-body connection.” Now, in The Gut-Immune Connection, Dr. Mayer proposes an even more radical paradigm shift: that the gut microbiome is at the center of virtually every disease that defines our 21st-century public health crisis.
Cutting-edge research continues to advance our understanding of the function and impact of the billions of organisms that live in the GI tract, and in Dr. Mayer’s own research, he has amassed evidence that the “conversation” that takes place between these microbes and our various organs and bodily systems is critical to human health. When that conversation goes awry, we suffer, often becoming seriously ill.
Combining clinical experience with up-to-the-minute science, The Gut-Immune Connection offers a comprehensive look at the link between alterations to the gut microbiome and the development chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, as well as susceptibility to infectious diseases like Covid-19. Dr. Mayer argues that it’s essential we understand the profound and far-reaching effects of gut health and offers clear-cut strategies to reverse the steady upward rise of these illnesses, including a model for nutrition to support the microbiome.
But time is running out: a plague of antimicrobial resistance is only a few decades away if we don’t make critical changes to our food supply, including returning to sustainable practices that maintain the microbial diversity of the soil. To turn the tide of chronic and infectious disease tomorrow, we must shift the way we live today.
Gastroenterologist Mayer (The Mind-Gut Connection) pursues the connection between chronic disease and the microbiome in this informative if complex work. Rates of "seemingly unrelated chronic illnesses" such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and liver disease have been rising over the last 75 years, he writes, but by prioritizing gut health, it's possible to "reverse this trend." To that end, he describes how diet regulates the brain-gut-microbiome network (the gut wall contains more than 70% of the body's immune cells) and reviews the effects of a healthy diet, exercise, and sleep on one's microbiome: disruptions in the brain-body network, he writes, lead to chronic inflammation and increased risk of chronic disease. In the way of advice, he suggests "what to eat" (fiber, green tea, omega-3 fatty acids) and "when to eat" (exclusively in an eight-hour window) to keep the microbiome happy, and dishes out nearly 50 pages of recipes. Lay readers, though, may find the explanations overly scientific ("The production of H2 O2 by Lactobacillus may protect against the development of chronic stress-induced, depressionlike behavior"). The level of granularity is demanding, but readers willing to stay the course will be persuaded to pay more attention to their guts.