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A++. This book gets 5 stars, if for no other reason than it includes consistent solid scientific evidence and its authors excel at engaging in critical thinking and helping their reader sift through the myriad data associated with gut microbes. There are so many books and articles about the gut microbiome. It is one of my favorite subjects and is busting on the science scene like epigenetics did a decade ago and advances in cognitive neuroscience did 3 decades ago (a phenomenon that is still ongoing). The problem with exciting science, often termed "sexy science," is that not only are people completely enamored with it, they are willing to believe anything an "expert" in the field tells them. Just like the world of neuro is absolutely polluted with pseudoscience (Dr. Expert/fraud's promotion: Train your brain with my easy but expensive program!), the field of the guy microbiome has an expert, who specializes in pseudoscience, around every corner. Everyone thinks they are allergic to gluten. Only very few people actually are. People are buying probiotics in increasing high numbers and are convinced the people selling them are knowledgable and honest. In truth, scientists do not even know which microbes are most effective for various conditions. When they do uncover a species of microbe, it may work in one person, but not another. Thus, it is not a cure for x. It is a beneficial microbe for that *type* of person to ingest but not beneficial for another type of person.
The reason why we know so little, and why there are not solidly effective probiotics being sold in stores, is not because probiotics in general are pseudoscience. They are not. In fact, probiotics might be our best chance at fighting many types of illnesses (especially those associated with inflammation), combating obesity, and even curing mental deficits such as depression, anxiety, and even Alzheimer's. But, the study of gut microbes is in its infancy. Researchers need more time to map out various relations.
Even though we are a long way from understanding the microbiome in enough detail to sell probiotics as effective remedies for various health issues, there is still reason to buy them, *if* you find out how to understand the differences in brands, types, etc. These authors provide sound advice for buying, making, and consuming probiotics. They are hippyish enough to appeal to alternative medicine folks ("We make our own food. We are organic. We let our kids play in the microbe filled dirt."), scientifically savvy ("Here is what x study said about y microbe/product), and relate to readers of all types.
I was sad to see such high ratings for Perlmutter and Loberg's book, The Brain Maker. It is clear that people will buy into anything they think they can trust. I hope my scientifically educated friends rate The Good Gut highly so that maybe it will drown out pseudoscientific books like Brain Maker.
17 of 20 people found this review helpful
I'm very skeptical of nutrition advice because I feel like we're constantly being told different things, but this book is so fully supported scientifically and addressed in such a practical and thoughtful manner, I can't help but love it. It's extremely educational and at the same time just makes so much sense. The authors are also really good about admitting what the scientific community doesn't know for sure yet, and great about pointing out the whole correlation vs causation issue. I trust these guys and will be taking their advice to make my diet more gut friendly!
16 of 19 people found this review helpful