Books Non-Fiction

The Whole-Body Microbiome by B. Brett Finlay and Jessica M. Finlay | Book Report


  • You’re interested in learning how probiotics contribute to quality of life and can increase lifespan
  • You need a detailed reminder why eating a healthy diet and regular exercise are good for you
  • You don’t mind the book being too medical or scientific-y (?) sometimes

Lately nagkaron ako ng ‘health and wellness phase’ so naghanap ako ng mga libro under this genre. Meron kasi akong mga karamdaman pero hindi naman malala. Pero ang dami. Yung isa medyo malala pala kasi twice na kong na-surgery dahil don pero manageable naman as of now. At ayoko nang mas dumami pa at maoperahan ulit so biglang isang araw na lang, sobrang naging aware ako dun sa mga existing medical issues ko kaya gusto kong mas maging proactive pagdating sa health ko.

Isang naisip ko nga ay magbasa ng mga libro about promoting health at ang isang napili ko ay ito ngang The Whole-Body Microbiome. Ang subtitle nya ay: How to Harness Microbes—Inside and Out—for Lifelong Health.

So title pa lang, obvious na ang pino-promote sa book na ‘to ay yung microbiome natin and how it’s an integral part of our health. Sa nursing school napagaralan namin sya so medyo may idea ako ng konti. As in konting konti. Yung term na tinuro samin is ‘natural flora’ or yung microbiome na nga. Eto daw yung mga microorganisms sa loob ng katawan natin na hindi naman nag-cause ng disease bagkos ay nakakatulong pa sila. Yun lang yung natandaan ko pero sobrang nag-deep dive ‘tong book na ‘to. Sabi pa nga dito, na yung microbiome daw natin is considered as one of the human organs. So ka-level nya pala ang heart, lungs, liver, etc.?

Age is inevitable. Old is optional.

Sa unang part, pinagusapan yung lifespan ng mga tao noon at ngayon. Yun muna yung inemphasize kasi nga kung healthy ka, malamang hindi ka agad mamamatay due to natural causes, hahaba yung lifespan.

From the moment we are born, we begin to die.

Medyo related ‘to dun sa book na next kong binasa, Lifespan naman yung title. Interesting din yung book na yun pero dito muna ako. Nung 1900s daw, 31 years lang yung life expectancy ng mga tao. 32 na ko ngayon. Di ko maimagine na patay na ko sa ganitong age. Pero nung 2016 daw, tumaas sya to 72 years. May special mention ang Japan kasi dun daw 84 years.

The everyday social and physical conditions of life—where you live, who you interact with, what you eat, how often you exercise—can influence health and longevity to a much greater extent (about 75 percent in studies) than genes (about 25 percent).

Nakakatawa yung note ko dito sa hinighlight ko na ‘to:

We evolved over millions of years with these invisible partners (our microbiome), and yet within two to three generations, many of them could be on their way to extinction.

Sabi ko sa notes ko, “So ano ngang dapat gawin??” Haha naatat ako masyado. Ang haba siguro nung intro. So eto na. Eto daw yung mga dapat gawin at yung mga special mention na probiotics to improve our health and combat diseases:

Red is bad Blue is good.

  • Di pala okay ang frequent hot baths. It strips off moisturizing lipids and oils. It can “disrupt the helpful microbes and their defenses against pathogens.” Kaya siguro hindi gumagaling yung eczema ko. Ang lamig naman kasi dito.
  • The probiotic Lactobacillus plantarum, offers promising options to moisten and nourish dry skin. Nai-increase daw nya yung water content ng skin so it promotes hydration and can help our skin appear healthier with fewer wrinkles (napainom ako bigla ng tubig).

    Food sources: kimchi, sauerkraut, pickles, brined olives and sourdough bread.
  • Ang botox pala ay hango sa bacteria na Clostridium botulinum. Yung protein daw na pinoproduce ng bacteria na ‘to, yun yung nagre-reduce ng wrinkles. Pero sabi dito sa book: “repeated use causes skin sagging and drooping.” So no to botox.
  • Sugar. Tagal ko nang alam na harmful ang too much sugar. At ngayon pa lang ako nagiging successful sa pag-limit ng sugar sa diet ko. And sabi dito, harmful din sya sa brain. Kasi high levels of sugar in the blood could cause Alzheimer’s. At sabi pa: “Alzheimer’s is unofficially sometimes called “type 3 diabetes.””
  • Chronic inflammation causes significant cell and tissue damage. Eto yung paulit ulit na nababasa ko dito sa book. Ito rin yung isa sa mga sobrang nag-stick sakin kasi yung isa kong chronic health issue ay related din sa inflammation. Kaya naman nagresearch ako ng mga pagkain na nakakaapekto sa inflammation ng body:

The key to a healthy longer life is to limit chronic low-grade inflammation.


  • Matic: Exercise. “When you get your heart pumping, blood flow to the brain increases, providing additional nourishment.” Dun din sa isang book pinaulit ulit yung importance ng exercise para ma-increase ang lifespan. Dito ako sa exercise sobrang nags-struggle huhu.

Researchers found that exercise also improved the integrity of the gut (meaning less leakage of LPS and resulting inflammation), and, regardless of diet, it was uniquely beneficial to the microbiome.

  • Sinabi rin dito yung danger ng repeated use of antibiotics. Kasi hindi lang yung bad bacteria ang tina-target ng antibiotics, yung good din. Kaya ang sabi, unless sobrang kailangan, wag magrely agad sa antibiotics. Sabi rin daw dun sa study na: “repeated intake of penicillin causes depression and anxiety.” Ooohh. Okay.

    And same with antimicrobial agents, hindi din daw sya okay kasi nga pinapatay nya lahat ng bacteria even the beneficial ones. Okay na daw ang soap and water in “nearly all instances.”
  • Fiber is a terrific food for your microbiota and aids your whole body, not just your brain. It can also decrease the risk of cardiovascular diseases along with reduced red meat consumption.

    So yes to fiber, no to red meat = healthy heart. Food sources: whole grains, fruit (berries, apples), vegetables (leafy greens, root vegetables), beans, nuts, and seeds and moderate amounts of red wine

It may also be important to incorporate high levels of fiber into our lifestyles if we want to save essential gut microbes before it’s too late.

Eat and drink to your heart’s content: Incorporate plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fibers, and nuts into your diet. Keep your heart and microbes happy by limiting intake of saturated fats, added sugars, salt, and red meat.

  • Fun fact: Brushing teeth promotes health throughout your entire body, including protecting against heart disease and even dementia. Wow syanga? I will keep this in mind pagtoothbrush ko mamaya.

    Quick info on how certain foods, plaque and microbiome relate to each other.

Use caution, however, as lactobacilli and bifidobacteria can be harmful to people who frequently consume fermentable carbohydrates. These include sugary foods and less obvious foods such as bread, crackers, bananas, and breakfast cereals. Lactobacilli and bifidobacteria use the sugars from these foods to produce acids. In technical terms, they are incredibly acidogenic and aciduric members (tolerant of a highly acidic environment) of the deep plaque that causes dental caries. This means that, through acid production, they can make plaque worse.

Cavities are not directly caused by sugar, but instead by certain microbes living off the sugar. The microbes produce acid which dissolves tooth enamel and creates cavities.

  • This probiotic called Streptococcus salivarius M18 (commonly found in oral care probiotics) “destroys harmful S. mutans bacteria and helps neutralize acidity in the mouth. Boosting microbial defenses can combat the root cause of cavities.” Another helpful probiotic is Streptococcus salivarius K12.

The National Institutes of Health recommends sugarless gum or hard candy to boost saliva flow; they even specify that citrus, cinnamon, and mint-flavored candies are “good choices.”

  • Smoking can also cause ear and throat infections due to bacteria buildup. Kaya sabi ko kay Kenneth tigilan na ang vape.
  • Eto guilty me. Sedentary lifestyle. Kasi nga katamad talaga magexercise. Pero I AM TRYING. “Lying in bed or sitting for long periods of time at any age allows mucus to build up in the lungs, putting the lungs more at risk for infection.”

I’m convinced that physical activity and mobility are the keys to a longer life and, more importantly, a high quality of life.

Okay powz huhu.

Many of the symptoms that we associate with elderly people—such as weakness and loss of balance—are actually symptoms of inactivity, not old age. You’re never “too old” to move your body! On the one extreme, there are body builders and marathon runners in their seventies, eighties, and nineties.

  • Utot. Kung pala-utot ka, good sign daw yun. “It indicates good consumption of fiber and a healthy, gas-producing microbiome.”
  • We love diversity! And in this case, beneficial din daw kung diverse ang microbiome natin. Yung mga ancestors daw natin, diverse ang microbiome nila. Kaso nagiging extinct na rin dahil sa low-fiber/high sugar diet ng generations ngayon.

Olive oil, beans and legumes, whole grains, fatty fish, and nuts act like a vacuum for the arteries. They remove bad LDL cholesterol and plaque buildup, and reduce risk of heart disease.

  • Medyo scared ako sa diabetes kasi mahilig ako sa matamis. Pero mas natakot ako ngayon. Kasi daw, “Diabetes can accelerate normal aging processes and shorten life expectancy.” And ang daming factors para makuha yung disease:

You do not have to be overweight to get the disease. Additional risk factors include fat distribution (if your body stores fat primarily in the abdomen), inactivity, family history of type 2 diabetes, and age. The risk of type 2 diabetes increases as you get older, especially after the age of forty-five. This may be because we are susceptible to weight gain as we age, and older adults are prone to exercise less and thus lose muscle mass.

  • Dati ayokong magpa-flu shot. Kasi tanda ko, merong year na after nung flu shot ko, few weeks later, nilagnat din naman ako. So naisip ko useless. Pero nalaman ko dun sa friend ko (hi Aryen!), na yearly pala iba-iba yung formulation ng flu shot. And na-mention din dito pano sya ginagawa. Ang interesting.

Every February, the World Health Organization (WHO) looks to the southern hemisphere to see which flu strains are prevalent there, and makes their best estimate of which strains will appear in the fall in the northern hemisphere. This leaves six frantic months for vaccine companies to ramp up production of that year’s vaccine.

  • Pets versus allergies! Low chance daw magka-asthma and allergies ang mga tao na exposed sa animals during their childhood.
  • “Bring the outside in.” First time kong na-encounter yung term na indoor pollution sa book na ‘to. Sobrang nag-make sense kaya rin naisip kong magtanim kahit herbs lang para hindi ma-destroy ng mga kitties. Plants daw “remarkably improve indoor air quality.” and “introduce beneficial bacteria indoors”.

    Proper ventilation is key rin daw. Also, yung carpets natin. Heavy carpets trap dust microbes daw kaya parang gusto kong linisin yung carpet namin 😅 Hindi man lang yun nalinis ata kahit isang beses.

Do not confine yourself to a climate-controlled, sterilized environment as you age.

  • Good toilet habits. Nabasa ko na ‘to somewhere. Yung pag-flush daw ng toilet can spray up bacteria into the air. Kaya naka-close yung seat cover pag nagf-flush kami. And buti na rin at hindi ko na practice yung pagdadala ng phone sa CR kasi prone din daw na mag-end up yung fecal matter sa phones.
  • Sponges should be replaced once a week daw kasi breeding ground daw sya for microbes. Ang gastos naman. Baka merong sustainable na sponge. Masearch nga mamaya.

Okay na. So yun ang mga nasagap ko. Pero ang nakakaasar dito sa book. Sobrang pino-promote nya yung probiotics sabay dun sa conclusion part eto ang sabi:

They do not seem to have a direct long-term effect on the overall structure of the existing microbiota population given that they rapidly disappear from the gut.

Ano ‘to kalokohan? But nevertheless, bumili pa rin akong probiotics. Haha. Siguro pag pinag-combine ang probiotics plus good diet, baka naman sakali na maging long-term yung effect. Nakakaasar lang na after nilang i-hype yung probiotics, ang daming disclaimers sa huli na kesyo “this is still new”, “it’s promising”, “science is still in the shallow end of this vast pool of exploration”, “opens many exciting avenues”, etc. So hindi talaga sya definitive. Pero yun nga, kahit ganun, I will try it 😂

Isa pang interesting info na nakuha ko eh yung FMT. It means fecal microbiota transplatation. In short, ilalagay sayo yung poops ng ibang tao para ma-correct yung dapat ma-correct sayo or para nga mas maging diverse ang microbiome mo. Haha ang gross diba. Pero syempre hindi mo naman kakainin. Papadaanin sya in a different way.

Pero nung olden days, feeling ko wala silang choice kundi oral intake. Haha! Pero in fairness may mga gumaling daw talaga. So ganun kaimportante ang microbiome composition sa katawan natin. Dapat nga daw diverse. Ang problem lang is naeextinct na nga daw yung ibang microbiome dahil iba na ang lifestyle ng mga tao ngayon.

Losing the diversity and abundance of our ancestors’ gut flora could negatively impact health and well-being if our species has fewer and less diverse microbes, making us more susceptible to gastrointestinal disorders, other diseases, and dysbiosis.

Kaya naman someone proposed na i-preserve ang microbiome ng mga elderly. In short, collect their poops and preserve it. Lagay natin sa freezer. Haha. Pero ako kung naka-enclose sya sa capsule tapos na-modify na yung poops na hindi mabaho and maging gross, game akong i-take yun. Isipin ko na lang vitamins 😆

The microbial composition remains fairly constant for most of adult life unless you do something drastic, like become a vegan or move to another country

RATING [3 🌟]

Enjoy naman. Daming natutunan. Tuloy tuloy pa din ang pag-take ko ng probiotics at sinamahan ko ng healthy diet sa abot ng aking makakaya. Kasi minsan bumibigay pa din ako pag nag-crave talaga ko. Yung exercise na lang ang kelangan kong i-work on.

Nagpababa lang talaga sa rating eh yung puro disclaimers sa huli matapos sobrang i-hype yung probiotics. May mga paulit ulit din kaya din siguro 3 stars lang.

Click to view my digital bookshelf.


It takes a village: Maintain your gut’s rich microbial diversity as much as possible throughout life. This includes taking antibiotics only when medically necessary, eating probiotic-rich foods (e.g., kimchi,sauerkraut, kefir, tempeh, yogurt, kombucha), and consuming prebiotic foods (e.g., asparagus, Jerusalem artichokes, bananas, oatmeal, red wine, honey, maple syrup, legumes).

Some risk factors for breast cancer can’t be changed, including sex, age, and genetics. But lifestyle changes can affect other factors such as being overweight, lack of exercise, unhealthy diet, and smoking cigarettes.

Colon cancer is a silent killer, often without obvious symptoms. Starting at age fifty—and even earlier for those with a history of family risk—everyone is urged to have a colonoscopy to screen for colon cancer. The sooner the disease is caught, the better your chances for treatment and survival.

Maintain as robust and diverse a microflora as possible to help diminish gut permeability and low-grade inflammation. Dietary choices to help limit inflammaging include those that increase SCFA (namely fiber) and antioxidants. High-fiber foods include legumes, berries, and cruciferous vegetables. Dark-colored grapes, blueberries, red berries, nuts, and dark green veggies are examples of antioxidant foods.

We can also find ways to bring the outside in, such as ventilating with fresh air and surrounding ourselves with live greenery. Indoor houseplants and flowers can positively influence health by introducing beneficial bacteria into the indoor microbiome, in addition to stress reduction, boosted creativity, and extra oxygen production.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s