Dads can’t win. If you let your kids roll around in the mud, then you’re negligent. If you keep them squeaky clean, then you’re not exposing them to enough healthy bacteria. Children’s developing gut microbiomes—comprised of the microscopic organisms, including bacteria, that inhabit their digestive tracts and influence physiological processes throughout their bodies—are a constant source of confusion. Are petting zoos reservoirs for zoonotic diseases, or rich microbiome resources that act as panaceas for seasonal allergies? Are antibiotics, which kill bacteria, lifesaving drugs or evil incarnate? If germs are so good, then why are we vaccinating kids?
“I think no matter what you do you’re going to be criticized by almost everyone about everything,” says Rob Knight, a professor at the University of California, San Diego and the co-founder of the American Gut Project and author of the new book Dirt Is Good: The Advantage of Germs for Your Child’s Developing Immune System. But that doesn’t mean the microbiome is a black box. Fatherly spoke with Knight about how gut bacteria can affect depressionn when to turn to probiotics, and precisely how much dirt is “good”.
Read More At: Fatherly