I love the planet analogy for our body as it makes the microbiome so easy to understand : see them as the life on planet you. And as a good planet owner, your job is to preserve the biodiversity on yourself; to keep your very complex ecosystem healthy, resilient and altogether happy.
So why so many of us have food allergies, ibd, sensitive skin and so many more inflammatory diseases than before ? Well, it seems we haven’t been taking very good care of our planets. It’s not really anyone’s fault, we didn’t really understand the microbiome and why it was important until a few years ago.
For me I had an illumination reading the book by Dr Martin blaser called “missing microbes”. If I had to condensate it in a few points it would go like this :
– The microbiome is extremely important for your health. It teaches your immune system to recognise bad for good, it feeds you, it protects you. The inhabitants love and take care of their planet
– But for a long time we were seeing bacteria as mostly bad. So we scrubbed everything we could with antibacterials, gave antibiotics to animals and babies from the first day of their life, and got rid of as many bacteria as possible around us. It had really good sides, people don’t die from infections anymore. But we went way too far. And we still do.
– So the most fragile bacteria in your ecosystem started dying. Or they never even got to meet you. And our microbiome today is nothing like it was before: a few stronger species dominate the system, and all the protective bacteria are not there anymore to protect the immune system. Our body gets inflamed and flares up at food, pollen, stress and itself.
– The result is the long list of diseases linked to a disease microbiome:
acne, eczema, depression, ibd, obesity, diabetes, some cancers, anxiety, food allergies, asthma and maybe even Parkinson and Alzheimer’s disease.
– When we want to look at what our microbiome was looking like before, scientists look at the yanomamis in Brasil. A remote tribe with a vibrant diverse microbiome. For skin the contrast is striking. Whereas c. acnes dominates on our face, they have a multitude of species that brings them a healthy skin and resilience to aggressions. They don’t even understand what acne is.
– So are we doomed ? No, bacteria adapt extremely quickly and people can have weird microbiomes but look healthy. But we are dealing with a new reality that is, as my English friends would put it, not ideal.
I’m a positive person by nature and I think that we should start to nurture our microbiome, bring back so diversity and be gentler with the good bacteria.
So go out, have a salad and hug a tree. Oh, and use microbiome skincare.⠀
Marie, Gallinée’s founder