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JH Podcast 14: Whole Body Microbiome & How These Invisible Creatures Impact Your Health with Dr. Brett Finlay

Walker and I were elated to interview the incredibly brilliant Dr. Brett Finlay to talk about all things microbiome! Brett is a Canadian Microbiologist and a Professor of Microbiology at the University of British Columbia.
Oct 9, 2019 | Joy McCarthy

I am FASCINATED by the microbiome and all the emerging research on it. But after reading both of Dr. Brett Finlay's books I just knew I had to get him on the podcast! Thankfully he accepted our invitation.

Our microbes, which live both in and on us, are huge determinants of our health and we need to understand them better if we want to provide our bodies with the utmost support they need.

Walker and I loved chatting with the incredibly brilliant Dr. Brett Finlay to talk about all things microbiome! Brett is a Canadian Microbiologist, a Professor of Microbiology at the University of British Columbia and world leader about how bacteria infections work. Brett has been studying microbes for over 30 years and has published over 450 articles. He's the two-time best-selling author of Let Them Eat Dirt: Saving Your Child From An Oversanitized World and The Whole Body Microbiome. Brett lives on the west coast in Vancouver with his wife and has 2 grown kids. 

Listen to the episode

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In this episode we discuss:

  • When your microbiome is first established
  • Your oral microbiome and how it can influence Alzheimer's Disease
  • How Brett got started in microbiome research 
  • How changing the microbes in the gut can help you determine the state of an infection 
  • Microbiome's previous reputation as "normal flora"
  • How microbes were first discovered in the late 1800s 
  • Why microbes were destroyed and introduced more harmful effects
  • Microbes and how they can determine the health of your gut, immune system, gut-brain axis, and asthma potential 
  • Most diseases have to do the state and health of your microbiome
  • You can't change your genes, but you can change your microbiome
  • How your microbial genes outnumber your human genes
  • Why two people who live together would have more of a similar microbiome than a pair of twins with the same genetic make-up that live on the other side of the world 
  • There is no single microbe that's conserved in each person 
  • How the mother influences the microbes of the fetus during pregnancy
  • The best birthday present your mom will ever give you 
  • The connection between being delivered vaginally and the ability to digest breast milk better
  • Why changing your eating habits in the third trimester is highly advised against 
  • The first 100 days of a child's life and why it's so crucial 
  • What living with a dog or on a farm have to do with your microbes
  • Why your environment is more influential on your microbes than genes 
  • Brett's thoughts on antibiotics
  • How we can use antibiotics strategically 
  • The link between antibiotics in animal feed (and human food) and weight gain 
  • Repairing your microbiome after a course of antibiotics 
  • The 94% cure rate fecal transplants have for C. difficile Colitis versus antibiotics which have a 25% cure rate 
  • Why you might want to be open to taking a fecal transplant through your nose
  • Brett's experience with C. difficile
  • Navigating the world of probiotics and how to find the right one for you 
  • Why you shouldn't use a probiotic that's intended for gut support for vaginal support 
  • What we can expect for the next generation of probiotics 
  • Is it necessary to take probiotics every day?
  • "Re-poop-ulating"
  • Your oral microbiome and how it can impact your overall health 
  • Brushing your teeth 3 times/day to reduce your chance of getting Alzheimer's by 50% 
  • Caring for your skin microbiome by being mindful about showering frequency
  • Why Walker smells more after he showers 
  • Microbial food and how to get more of it into your diet
  • "The Mind Diet"
  • Exercising and eating well to give your microbes an anti-inflammatory composition
  • Managing stress as much as possible to maintain microbial health 
  • What to know about the state of your microbes as you get older 
  • How to add an extra 10 years to your life 
  • The more diverse you eat, the more diverse your microbes will be 
  • How Brett's research has influenced how he lives his life



Chantal   •   October 16, 2019

Hi Joy, I loved this episode so much!! Like you, I am totally obsessed with the microbiome and it's impact on our overall health. Dr. Finlay was both interesting and entertaining. My biggest take-away was that different types of probiotics address specific health issues and that you can go to to find out how the various probiotics sold in Canada measure up. I know you are a big supporter of Genuine Health products, including their probiotics, but I noticed that none of their products are on the chart. Can you tell me why? It concerns me as that is the probiotics I give my kids. Thanks so much!

Joy McCarthy   •   October 16, 2019

Jen Stanton   •   July 13, 2020

So fascinating!! I loved this episode and it, along with your talks (Soulful Reset), has inspired me to learn more about the microbiome. My husband suffers from asthma and frequent respiratory infections and I feel like I was meant to listen to this podcast to learn more about the link between the gut and lung connection. Thank you!

Joy McCarthy   •   July 13, 2020

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