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Annual Microbiome Issue Book Review: The Human Super-Organism by Rodney Dietert, PhD.

25 August 2016 - Posted by Kathryn Kos

Human Super OrganismThe Human Super-Organism is an eye opening, thought provoking, and paradigm-shifting book! Dietert does an amazing job describing how we’ve been destroying our microbiome (the beneficial organisms that keep us healthy) through the heavy use of antibiotics, the belief that we need to be pure organisms, “free of microbes”, and the concept of the human genome being the most important factor in creating a better life for humans. He reveals how flawed the medical science paradigm is in terms of seeing modern diseases such as diabetes, obesity, cancer and depression as “normal”, and challenges us to view ourselves as delicate ecosystems that are being disrupted through modern lifestyle. This book helps to guide the reader down the best possible path to self-healing, through nurturing our beneficial bacteria.

Dietert challenges everything we have been taught about biology. Our very “instructions” from teachers, preachers, communities, and government organizations have formed how we see being human, from a genetic and gene standpoint. However, Dietert teaches us that we are really only one percent genome.

Your genes only account for 1 percent of what is guiding cells in and on your body. The problem is that every time we think we know what is going on in biology, someone discovers something that we are missing, and sometimes it is something really big.

Dietert argues that we more accurately are “microbial storage machines” designed to pass our microbes on to future generations. Our microbial genes, aka “the second genome” is now known to drive behavior that supports the bacterial genes. He goes on to discuss the intricate relationship between microbes and ourselves. We are intermixed as an organism, even at the cellular and molecular levels. Saying that many of our present-day genes were not ours to begin with. They were donated by past microbial partners. You are not what you and I were taught. You are more than that. You are a reflective microcosm of the world in which you live.

The author goes on to discuss how our modern world is destroying our delicate balanced ecosystem. He covers everything humans are doing now, such as deforestation and the effect it has on biodiversity-including our own biodiversity! We are a layered ecosystem all tied together. Deitert explains this beautifully- discussing coral reefs, gardens, rain forests, other animals and what happens when the microbiome is degraded, damaged, and even lost. The world’s microbial ecosystems are all connected and entwined.

The first part of the book introduced the reader to a new paradigm regarding biology in general, and human biology in particular. The second half of the book is about revolutionizing and redirecting how we view health care and medicine, with this paradigm shift in mind. Deitert discusses how we need to close the gap between between human biology and how human health is managed in our western culture. He focuses on the immune system and immune health in relation to microbiota. He covers all the different patterns of non-communicable diseases, which is quite fascinating to learn about! He then details the six causes of epidemic, including chemicals and drugs.

Deitert discusses ways in which western medicine can evolve to close this gap in how we typically manage our health. He covers ways to help fix our own healthy microbial balance, including the use of diverse probiotics. He details “your brain on microbes” and how neuroactive metabolites of gut microbes increase serotonin, dopamine, and other important neurotransmitters in the brain.

Finally, Deitert discusses ways in which we can improve our own microbiome and he includes ten specific initiatives or wide-range healthy choices we can make now that can make a marked difference in our health and the health of our children, including vaginal birth or vaginal seeding, breastfeeding, having pets etc. He then digs even deeper and makes suggestions on other things we can do, such as consuming probiotics, prebiotics, and fermented foods, as well as exercising.

Although most health-minded individuals are now quite familiar with the term “microbiome”, this book takes how we view our collective microbes to a whole new level! Dietert composed a well-written, easy to read and understand, and extremely eye-opening book. This book will change how you view life, biology, and disease, nutrition, and medicine. I highly recommend this book for anyone who is concerned about their health, their children’s health, and the health of our world (a complex ecosystem of microbes) in general. Enjoy!

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