What We Read, Watched, and Learned in May

Aunt Fannie Blog

It’s no secret that we love to discover how wild, invisible connections shape the natural world, our bodies, and even our relationships. To keep up with the world’s ever-growing understanding of the microbiome’s impact on our lives, we’re always on the hunt for new research, inspiring stories, and helpful resources to share with the Aunt Fannie’s fam. This month’s reading list: the microbiome-obesity connection, heart-protecting bacteria, and healthier babies thanks to probiotics!

The Gut-Bug Diet?

Another tally in the “microbes are awesome” column: An article in the June issue of O, the Oprah Magazine explores how cultivating good bacteria in your microbiome may help keep weight in check. Gerard E. Mullin, MD, author of The Gut Balance Revolution, and William DePaolo, PhD, an associate professor of medicine and director of the Center for Microbiome Sciences & Therapeutics at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle, explain that our gut microbiome is broadly made up of two kinds of microbes, firmicutes and bacteroidetes, and striking the right balance between the two could influence the way your body uses and stores fat. Long story short, we are what we eat, and our diet has a major impact on boosting the relative dominance of bacteroidetes. Eating more veggies, including probiotic foods, and avoiding antibiotics can help shift your microbiome into a lean, mean, fat-burning machine.

How Toxic Cleaning Products Affect Our Health

The awesome folks over at HyperBiotics (who offer a full line of probiotic supplements for adults, kids, and pets in addition to probiotic toothpaste) give the down and dirty scoop on how chemical-laden cleaning products and over-sanitization wreaks havoc on our lungs, damages the good bacteria in our microbiome, and negatively impacts the world’s vulnerable wildlife. It’s not all doom and gloom, though. There are totally ways to keep your house clean and your body healthy—and we just so happen to make solutions that fit the bill. Thanks for the shoutout, HyperBiotics!

Probiotics save Preemies!

According to NPR, it’s now become common practice at UC Davis Children’s Hospital to treat all premature babies born under a certain birth weight with probiotics to prevent infections—and are successfully exploring the use of probiotic therapy with healthy babies to increase microbiome diversity, decrease potentially harmful bacteria like clostridium, and even help prevent the likelihood of eczema.

Bacteria are Good for your Heart.

You may be familiar with research connecting the microbiome with mood and digestion, and for the first time, scientists have discovered a link between bacterial diversity in the gut and heart disease. A study conducted by the University of Nottingham and King’s College London explored the heart health and microbiomes of 617 middle-aged female twins in the UK, revealing  a significant correlation between a healthy diversity of gut bacteria and a lower risk of arterial stiffening, a major feature of cardiovascular disease. What’s more, specific strains of bacteria were identified that could help researchers use microbiome analysis to detect risk of heart disease—and could explain the connection between fiber intake and heart health. How cool is that?

Thank you, Forbes!

This month, our founder Mat Franken was featured in a profile on Forbes.com as a pioneer in safe alternatives to clean the home and manage pests. Read the full article here.