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Book Review: The Whole-Body Microbiome

How to Harness Microbes—Inside and Out— for Lifelong Health

by B. Brett Finlay PhD and Jessica M. Finlay PhDThe Experiment
reviewed by Kathryn Drury Wagner
Book cover

If you’ve been reading any health news over the past five years, you’re already familiar with gut microbes. They are the microorganisms in our digestive tract that not only affect how we process nutrients but are also implicated in diseases such as asthma and obesity and play a role in cardiovascular health. Yet you might not be aware that our little microbial buddies play a part in many other systems of our bodies, including our skin, brain, mouth. . . . Who knew we even have a microbiome in our lungs? In their new book, The Whole-Body Microbiome, father-daughter team B. Brett and Jessica Finlay, both PhDs, will certainly open your eyes. 

While 25 percent of how we age is determined by genes, the other 75 percent of the process is determined by things we can adjust

B. Brett Finlay is a professor of microbiology and the author of Let Them Eat Dirt; Jessica Finlay is an expert in gerontology. They present visionary information on microbes in a very easy-to-digest way (pardon the pun). The key takeaway is that while 25 percent of how we age is determined by genes, the other 75 percent of the process is determined by things we can adjust: what we eat, how often we exercise, whom we hang out with, even how much mold is in our homes, or whether we chew on probiotic gum. It’s inspiring that so much of our quality of life may be within our own control. 

Whether you are seeking to address a specific health concern, such as IBS, or just want to decelerate the aging process, this book is filled with tips and actionable lifestyle advice. The fountain of youth, it turns out, may actually be burbling up with microbes.  —KDW 

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