The potential role of the microbiome in obesity is indeed provocative, but the reality is that we have just scratched the surface, and it will be years, if ever, before we can predictably combat obesity through the gut microbiome.

While there are many intriguing gut microbiome studies in obese and lean mice, we have very little in the way of controlled human studies. Hopefully they will be coming soon!

Manipulating health through the gut microbiome is incredibly tricky because its the entire community that matters, not any given species.

At the moment, I view most probiotics as a bit of a shot in the dark. They may or may not take up residence (more likely NOT) and even then, the effects on the entire community are impossible to predict. Perhaps you got lucky? It’s hard to say without knowing what else you changed at the same time.

I put greater stock in the importance of prebiotics (the fuel for our bugs). Here, dietary fiber reigns supreme and we know that those who consume more of it (such as vegetarians) tend to have distinctly different microbiota. We are also learning more and more about how the “good bugs” pay us back for feeding them well, such as through short chain fatty acids.

I’ve written a bit about gut microbiome here:

How to cultivate a gut microbiome

BTW, I’m about to launch a You Tube show / podcast called Get Real Health. The show will use science to provide real answers (with appropriate uncertainty!) to real questions, through real experts.

I’m excited to feature microbiome guru Dr. Brett Finlay as one of my first guests! The show will come out in late Feb or early March 2020. Dr. Finlay is a word-renowned researcher and a great science communicator. He is the author of “Let Them Eat Dirt” and “The Whole Body Microbiome”.


Dr. Chana Davis

Founder, Fueled by Science

Scientist (PhD Genetics @Stanford) * Mother * Passionate about science-based healthy choices * Lifelong learner * Founder: Fueled by Science

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