President Barack Obama is super into the microbiome.
Famed author and educator Michael Pollan is excited about the microbiome, too, and while he’s warned about the dangerous potential to overstate (à la all the probiotic hype) the disease-curing promises of our “unruly garden within,” he also says we now know enough about the benefits of the bugs to “begin to shop and cook with the microbiome in mind.”
Overall interest in the microbiome has indeed reached peak levels. Some say microbiome sequencing is now as important as genome sequencing, or the process of analyzing every single strand of DNA in the human body.
But it wasn’t the rising international excitement over the microbiome that got San Diego artist Sara Parent-Ramos interested in the subject, nor was it the fact that both her parents are microbiologists. What finally made the artist and new mom really start to think about the microbiome was her own breast milk and all the beneficial bacterium swimming in it.
“That just kind of took me down the rabbit hole,” Parent-Ramos said. “There’s always been an awareness that there’s bacteria in our gut, but the awareness that different bacteria can be helpful or hurtful in different context, or that these things can actually have an effect on how we behave and on our emotions – that fascinated me.”