I Asked a Bunch of Scientists if Climate Change Was Affecting the Bacteria in My Gut
As many as 70 million Americans suffer from gastrointestinal issues, with an ongoing increase in celiac disease, food allergies, irritable bowel syndrome, and much else. Until recently, these maladies had been largely confined to the American population. But as our junk food-y diets and hygiene-obsessed lifestyles have been unveiled in the developing world, so have our illnesses. Whatever’s wrong with our stomachs is undergoing a diaspora.
At the same time, there’s been an explosion of interest in the gut microbiome, sometimes called the microbiota—the collection of bacteria, good and bad, that, among many other things, help us digest food and regulate our immune systems.
So if climate change is altering our weather and food supply, I thought, could it possibly be messing up our microbiomes—and thus, our stomachs? My stomach?
The scientific community, it turns out, is just starting to ask similar questions. And as part of my desperate search to divine what ails me—and to follow up on my hunch—I dove into what they’ve found so far. Read More