Episode 5: Diet and its impact on our microbiota and health with Drs. Erica and Justin Sonnenburg

On this week’s podcast we talked with Drs. Erica and Justin Sonnenburg from Stanford University about the effects that diet and specifically dietary fiber have on our microbiota and its impact on health. Erica and Justin recently co-authored a book called The Good Gut: Taking Control of Your Weight, Your Mood, and Your Long-term Health. The book comes out today, April 21st, and we highly recommend checking it out for both microbiome scientists and non-scientists alike who have an interest in the microbiome.  Buy it here on Amazon

On the next episode, we will again answer listener questions so please call 518-945-8583 and leave a voicemail with your question. We will be talking with Dr. Elaine Hsiao, a Professor at California Institute of Technology, about the microbiome and its link to autism as well as regulation of serotonin levels.

On the podcast this week we talked about:

(1:17) Dr. Rob Knight received a Creative Promise in Biomedical Science Prize from the Vilcek Foundation. Read more.
(3:09) Rob Knight also published a book called Follow Your Gut: The Enormous Impact of Tiny Microbes. Click here to buy it on Amazon.
(3:33) uBiome recently began a pregnancy microbiome study to better understand how the bacteria in our bodies change during and after pregnancy. Find out more on the uBiome website
(4:56) Microbiome Therapeutics performed a clinical study with an investigational drug in type 2 diabetics taking metformin and found that the drug resulted in more tolerability for patients and fewer side effects than metformin without the drug. Read more.  

In the (9:40) conversation with Erica and Justin Sonnenburg (read more about their research), we talked about several topics pertaining to diet and dietary fiber and its impact on our microbiota and health. We also discussed: 

(11:49) Why they decided to write the book.
(16:05) Their personal experiences having children and the importance of nurturing their health and its impact on their lives.
(17:55) Dietary fibers and differences among various types of fibers in our diets.
(26:15) How fast does diet change the microbiota?
(32:05) Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron and why it is Erica and Justin's favorite microbe and a study Justin published in 2005 while he was in Jeff Gordon's lab. Read the paper here.  
(37:35) How microbiome therapies are going to look in the future. 
(41:00) How eating better can make an impact now on our overall health. Read the seminal obesity and microbiome paper Erica mentions from the Gordon laboratory

We also answered two other (44:00) listener questions about phage therapy and organic vs. non-organic baby and adult foods. 

Next week we will be talking with Dr. Elaine Hsiao from Cal Tech so please call 518-945-8583 with your questions about autism and the microbiome as well as the microbiome's ability to regulate serotonin levels.