How Your Body’s Microbes Hold the Key to Health and Happiness
This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.
Obesity, autism, mental health problems, IBS, allergies, auto-immunity, cancer. Does the answer to the modern epidemic of ‘Western’ diseases lie in our gut?
You are 10% human. For every one of your cells, there are nine impostors hitching a ride. You are not just flesh and bone, but also bacteria and fungi. And you are more ‘them’ than you are ‘you’.
Your gut alone hosts 100 trillion of them and until recently we thought that our microbes didn’t matter. This is all set to change as the latest scientific research tells a very different story, one where microbes run our bodies and becoming healthy is impossible without them.
In this ground-breaking book, biologist Alanna Collen reveals how our personal colony of microbes influence our weight, immune system, mental health and even our choice of partner. This is a new way of understanding modern diseases – obesity, autism, mental health problems, gut disorders, allergies, auto-immunity and even cancer – as she argues they have their root in our failure to cherish our most fundamental and enduring relationship: that with our microbes.
Illuminating many of the questions still unanswered by the human genome project 10% Human completely changes our understanding of diet, modern disease and medicine. The good news is that unlike our human cells, we can change our microbes for the better and this book shows you how. A revelatory and indispensable guide: life – and your body – will never seem the same again.
‘A fascinating study of the intertwined lives of microbes and humans’ Newsweek
‘Seminal … a mind-blowing look into the concept that suggests we are more bacteria than human. Collen recounts her own up-close and personal experiences, and looks at our bacteria from birth and what manipulates our development thereafter. A truly fascinating and thought-provoking read’ Psychologies
‘A welcome antidote to the simplistic "boost your health with probiotics" books and articles posing as science (but serving mostly commerce), Collen dares to tell the messy truth about what science knows – and doesn't know – about the microbes that live in us, live with us, and in some ways even become us … [Collen] is clearly an expert in the field … fascinating … Everything you wanted to know about microbes but were afraid to ask’ Kirkus, *Starred* Review
‘A fascinating subject to consider … A beginner’s guide to microbiota …There’s value in Collen’s point about reconsidering what is truly healthy at a time when healthy living is so in vogue’ Philadelphia Inquirer
About the author
Alanna Collen is a science writer, with both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biology from Imperial College London, and a PhD in evolutionary biology from University College London and the Zoological Society of London. She is a well-travelled zoologist, an expert in bat echolocation, and an accidental collector of tropical diseases.
During her scientific career, Alanna has written for the Sunday Times Magazine, as well as about wildlife for ARKive.org. She has appeared on numerous radio and television programmes, including BBC Radio 4’s Tribes of Science and Saturday Live, and BBC One’s adventure-wildlife show Lost Land of the Volcano. She lives in Bedfordshire with her husband.