The Extinction Happening Inside You | Summary and Q&A

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April 23, 2020
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MinuteEarth
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The Extinction Happening Inside You

TL;DR

Our modern diet and extensive use of antibiotics are causing the extinction of essential gut microbes, leading to health problems.

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Questions & Answers

Q: How are our gut microbes affected by our modern diet?

Our modern processed diet lacks the fiber and complex carbs that certain gut microbes evolved to digest, causing them to disappear and making room for harmful bacteria like C. diff.

Q: What are the consequences of losing essential gut bacteria?

Losing beneficial gut bacteria like Prevotella can lead to imbalances in the immune system, inflammation, and potentially other metabolic diseases like diabetes.

Q: How did the bald eagle extinction event relate to the microbial extinction crisis?

The bald eagle extinction event was caused by habitat destruction and accidental poisoning, which led to the disappearance of bald eagles and an explosion in the gull population. Similarly, the loss of gut bacteria can lead to an overgrowth of harmful bacteria and health problems.

Q: What can be done to protect and restore our gut microbiome?

Bringing fiber back into our diets, introducing beneficial bacteria like Prevotella through probiotic pills, and reducing the overuse of antibiotics are measures that can help protect and restore our gut microbiome.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Americans drove the bald eagle to near extinction in the 1960s, and now a similar extinction event is happening in our guts due to our processed diet and overuse of antibiotics.

  • Gut bacteria, like Prevotella, which help regulate our immune system, are disappearing, making room for harmful bacteria like C. diff, leading to diarrhea and inflammation.

  • Bringing fiber back into our diets, introducing beneficial bacteria, and reducing antibiotic use are potential solutions for protecting and restoring our gut microbiome.

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