Trust Your Gut
Too often we make the mistake of seeing ecology as existing outside of us — as if the interlocking systems of the different organisms that constitute life on Earth were a performance orchestrated for our passive entertainment. But as the filmmakers Sarah Schenck and Steve Lawrence probe in their new film The Invisible Extinction a vital ecosystem lives within our bodies, helping us maintain homeostasis and ensure the foods we eat deliver the nutrition and protections we need for survival. And just as the ecosystems beyond our bodies are threatened with industrialization and pollution, so too are the ecosystems inside of us now facing their own set of threats. This week I’ve asked Sarah Schenck to draw from her great film and do a guest post on how you can maintain your inner ecosystem. Her words follow below.
We think we know the story of germs — germs are bad and make us sick, and antibiotics are the greatest advance in the history of medicine. But there is a different story to tell about germs, a surprising story: we’ve been running a radical experiment during the last 75 years without truly realizing what we’ve been doing.
Here are my chief takeaways for how you can support your “superorganism” — your body plus your resident microbes
“Antibiotic use and other practices like elective C-sections, and eating highly processed foods, has created serious collateral damage to our ‘good bugs’ a.k.a. germs that we’re just beginning to understand,” says Dr. Martin Blaser, Chair of the Human Microbiome & Professor of Medicine and Pathology at Rutgers University, whose work is featured in our upcoming documentary film The Invisible Extinction — the race to save our vanishing microbes.
In the era of Covid-19, most people know about superbugs, but few people are aware of the connection between the loss of our ancient microbes or ‘good bugs’ and the parallel pandemic of chronic diseases that is unfolding worldwide. Dr. Blaser’s research demonstrates a potent link between loss of our microbes and the rise of diabetes, obesity, asthma, food allergies and other chronic illnesses.